We all know in our hearts that children need to play. It’s just the way they’re wired. They need it for their spirits, their brains, their hearts, and just for the sake of their childhood.

We also know that being a parent is really difficult. It’s very easy to get wrapped up in the stress of it all.

Being an early childhood teacher is the most unhealthy and stressful job in it’s income bracket.

What if we could all live our lives a little more playfully? Maybe we should be a little more like our children and students and embrace the world with a smile, a sense of humor, and a playful spirit.

That’s what I’m setting out to do with The Playful Learner. Using research studies, my work and education in early childhood, and my sense of playfulness, I aim to bring you information about play-based living, learning, and parenting.


WHY PLAY?

My firey passion for play was lit when I was working as a preschool teacher. Often as a teacher, you encounter children with behavioral and emotional issues who present challenges. I watched as one of these children completely turned around after only a couple weeks of play therapy. To him, he was simply playing, but it changed his attitude and the way he interacted with the world. I did further research and discovered just how impactful play is. I knew then that play should be an important part of everyone’s lives, and we shouldn’t have to wait until emotional or behavioral problems arise to make time for it. You can learn more about the benefits of play and why I’m so passionate about it here.

My and my son Solomon at about 8 months old


RESEARCH-BASED

As a teacher, I know we always feel pressure coming in from all directions. You know from your expertise that play is important, but play feels attacked by standards, administrations and sometimes even parents. As a parent that we are constantly bombarded with conflicting information. For me, I find comfort in research. Research can act as our armor.


WHAT’S GOING ON HERE?

On the menu bar up there, what are you going to find?

Playful Learning

This is where you’ll find my favorite research studies on the benefits of play. It’s where you’ll find me geeking out about my passion as well as sharing with you how to harness the power of play to benefit your children and students.

There is the subcategory of “teaching”

which is where I’ll provide strategies and resources useful for early childhood educators.

Top posts in Playful Learning:

  1. 61 Playful Ways to Boost Language Development
  2. The Basics and Benefits of Risky Play
  3. Monsters and Heroes: Why Children Need to Make-Believe

This is where you’ll also find the subcategory “Projects”

This is where you’ll find projects and activities for early education, as well as round-ups that will send you to other blogs with wonderful playful ideas. I’ve separated them by age group, with infants being roughly 0-14 months, toddlers being roughly 14-30 months, and preschoolers being 2 ½-5 years. There is also the “parent & teacher” section: for projects where the adult is the one actually making it, but it’s for the children or family. Some of the projects are good for one-on-one, and some are good for whole class activities.

I’ve listed in each project what your children are learning when it looks like they’re just playing.

Top posts in Projects:

  1. Quick and Easy How to: 4 Busy Boxes for Baby
  2. 20+ Things To Do With Playdough
  3. How to Get a Product From Baby Process Art

Playful Living

Play-based learning is the best and more developmentally appropriate practice for early education. Children are playful creatures in life, that goes without saying.

But I’m a firm believer in the benefits of being playful throughout life. And so this category is filled with posts to inspire playful living throughout life. It is mostly geared towards parents and people who have children in their lives, but people without children can find some benefit as well.

Top posts in Playful Living:

  1. 5 Easy Ways to Live Playfully Now
  2. 7 Ideas to Gift Your Family Experiences for Free
  3. 11 Inspirational Quotes About Fun and Playful Living

Parenting

This is where you can read my insights, tips, and resources as a mother and teacher. I strive to be a playful mom who parents in kind and respectful ways, and so the parenting posts reflect that.

Top posts in Parenting:

  1. 12 Creative and Kind Ways to Say “No” to Your Toddler
  2. 5 Podcast Episodes that Encourage Playful Parenting
  3. Living in a Studio with a Baby: What I Learned

Freebies

This is where you’ll be able to sign up for the downloadables, printables, and newletters.

About

It’s where you found this page! Also where you’ll find my contact information, more information about the power of play, and the legalese page with more information like disclaimers and privacy policies.


My and my son Solomon when he was about 8 months

ABOUT THE AMBER THE AUTHOR

I am a mother, preschool teacher and nanny with a BA in Early Childhood and Family Studies. I gave birth to my son Solomon in December of 2015. Then I made the decision many families make, by choice or circumstances: I decided to not go back to work full time. Watching my favorite Playful Learner Solomon blossom and learn through play has become the definitive joy in my life. 

My favorite ways to playfully learn are in nature (hiking & camping), with art (drawing & photography), and with food (cooking & baking).

I live in Washington state with my husband John, and our baby, Solomon, (or “Sol”-pronounced “soul” as in SOLar system) along with our dog, Seymour, and cat, Polly.

Please contact me if you have any questions, concerns or would like to chat!

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