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Playing looks like fun, but it's also important work!

Playing

Playing Teaches Early Literacy!

"Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood." -Fred Rogers

How Can Playing Develop Early Literacy Skills?

  • Play is simply the best way for children to learn language, literacy, social, and other skills. It also nurtures creativity.

  • Play helps children think symbolically (one thing can stand for another): a box becomes a car, a playmate is a firefighter, etc. This will help them understand that written words stand for real objects and experiences.

  • Children develop thinking and oral language skills: as they play store or pretend to be animals, they talk about what they are doing. They are practicing putting their thoughts into words.

  • When children make up stories for what they're doing (dramatic play) they learn narrative skills. For example, stories happen in an order: first, next, last.

  • Make-believe allows children to act out real situations, work through worries and fears, and solve problems using their imaginations.

  • Play builds self-confidence and imparts a sense of accomplishment in children. This motivates them to try new experiences and not give up when things are difficult.

What Kind of Play?

You are your child's first and favorite playmate! Your child learns something new through each interaction with you.How kids play changes as they grow.

  • How children play will change as they grow. It is normal for babies and young toddlers to play alongside rather than with each other, for example. To learn more about the typical development of play, see: The Power of Play in Child Development and The Development of Play Skills from Birth to 3.

  • Let them lead: give your child the freedom they need to explore items and do activities in their own way, at their own pace. Show them one way to interact with a toy, but allow them to find other ways too.

  • Respond to their signals: paying attention to your child's expressions and gestures will help you know when you need to change activities or offer assistance. You want to provide just enough help so they don't get frustrated, which will motivate them to keep trying.

  • Play it again: Repeating the same game or activity over and over again may bore you, but your child is practicing in order to gain mastery of new skills. Encourage them in their efforts to do it "All by myself!"

  • Adapt to meet their needs: Giving your child a place to play in that is safe to explore will ensure fewer "No"s and more smiles. Pay attention to their cues – some children like lots of sensory stimulation, and others may want to focus on one thing at a time.

  • Remember that the best kind of play is often unstructured. Don't pressure yourself or your child; simply enjoy your time together.

Putting it into Action

Here are several examples of using Play to help build early literacy skills:A simple color sorter

  • Play matching and sorting games! As children notice what is alike or different, they will be prepared to understand the distinctions between letters.

  • Play with blocks – it builds motor, math, and science skills by providing opportunities for sorting, categorizing, building, and knocking down.

  • Use puppets or other props for dramatic play. Acting out the story of a favorite book builds narrative skills.

  • Involve all their senses: Go on a scavenger hunt for items of different colors, different textures, etc. This kind of sensory play will expand your child's knowledge of their world as you talk about what they're exploring.

  • Add print to pretend play: suggest that your child write prescriptions if they're playing doctor, menus for a restaurant, prices for a store, etc.

Sources:

Saroj Ghoting
Every Child Ready to Read 2nd Edition
The Power of Play in Child Development
The Development of Play Skills from Birth to 3

Preschool Events
Tue, May 21, 10:00am - 10:45am
Merrillville - Children's Programming Room

Tue, May 21, 10:30am - 11:30am
St. John - Children's Program Room
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Tue, May 21, 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Griffith-Calumet Twp - Children's Programming Room

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Griffith-Calumet Twp - Children's Programming Room

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St. John - Children's Program Room
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Merrillville - Children's Programming Room

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Cedar Lake - Children's Programming Room

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St. John - Large Meeting Room

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St. John - Children's Program Room

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St. John - Children's Program Room

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Dyer-Schererville - Meeting Room Whole (A & B)

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Lake Station-New Chicago - Large Meeting Room

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Hobart - Children's Program Room

Mon, Jun 03, 10:30am - 11:00am
Merrillville - Children's Programming Room

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Hobart - Children's Program Room

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Cedar Lake - Children's Programming Room

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Hobart - Children's Program Room

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St. John - Children's Program Room

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Merrillville - Children's Programming Room

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Munster - Children's Program Room

Tue, Jun 04, 10:30am - 11:00am
St. John - Children's Program Room

Tue, Jun 04, 11:00am - 12:00pm
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Highland - Children's Programming Room

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Griffith-Calumet Twp - Children's Programming Room

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Cedar Lake - Children's Programming Room

Fri, Jun 07, 3:00pm - 5:00pm
Lake Station-New Chicago - Large Meeting Room

Fri, Jun 07, 3:30pm - 5:30pm
St. John - Large Meeting Room

Sat, Jun 08, 10:30am - 11:00am
Merrillville - Children's Programming Room

Sat, Jun 08, 3:00pm - 4:00pm
Hobart - Children's Program Room

Mon, Jun 10, 10:30am - 11:00am
Dyer-Schererville - Children's Programming Room

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Mon, Jun 10, 10:30am - 12:00pm
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Cedar Lake

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St. John - Children's Program Room
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Riverview Park

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Merrillville - Children's Programming Room

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St. John - Children's Program Room
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Dyer-Schererville - Children's Programming Room

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Hobart - Children's Program Room

Wed, Jun 12, 10:15am - 10:45am
Dyer-Schererville - Children's Programming Room

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Griffith-Calumet Twp - Children's Programming Room

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Highland - Children's Programming Room

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Munster - Children's Program Room

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St. John - Children's Program Room
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Dyer-Schererville - Children's Programming Room

Wed, Jun 12, 12:00pm - 2:00pm
Merrillville - Meeting Room A

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Cedar Lake - Meeting Room A

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St. John - Large Meeting Room

Mon, Jun 17, 10:30am - 11:00am
Dyer-Schererville - Children's Programming Room

Rescheduled
Mon, Jun 17, 10:30am - 11:30am
New date Monday, June 17, 1:00pm - 2:00pm
Cedar Lake

Mon, Jun 17, 10:30am - 11:00am
Merrillville - Children's Programming Room

Mon, Jun 17, 10:30am - 11:15am
Hobart - Children's Program Room

Mon, Jun 17, 1:00pm - 2:00pm
Cedar Lake - Children's Programming Room

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Hobart - Children's Program Room

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St. John - Large Meeting Room
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St. John - Children's Program Room
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Cedar Lake - Meeting Room A

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Dyer-Schererville - Children's Programming Room

Wed, Jun 19, 10:30am - 11:30am
Griffith-Calumet Twp - Children's Programming Room

Wed, Jun 19, 10:30am - 11:00am
Highland - Children's Programming Room

Wed, Jun 19, 11:15am - 11:45am
Dyer-Schererville - Children's Programming Room

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Merrillville - Children's Programming Room

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Lake Station-New Chicago - Children's Program Room

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Merrillville - Meeting Room B
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St. John - Large Meeting Room

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Merrillville - Meeting Room B
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Sat, Jun 01, 1:00pm - 2:00pm
Griffith-Calumet Twp - Meeting Room

Sat, Jun 01, 3:00pm - 4:00pm
Lake Station-New Chicago - Large Meeting Room

Sat, Jun 01, 3:00pm - 4:00pm
Hobart - Children's Program Room

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Merrillville - Meeting Room A

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St. John - Children's Program Room

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Merrillville - Meeting Room A

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Merrillville - Meeting Room A

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Lake Station-New Chicago - Large Meeting Room

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Merrillville - Meeting Room A

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Munster - Large Meeting Room

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Highland - Meeting Room A

Fri, Jun 07, 3:00pm - 5:00pm
Lake Station-New Chicago - Large Meeting Room

Fri, Jun 07, 3:30pm - 5:30pm
St. John - Large Meeting Room

Sat, Jun 08, 12:00pm - 2:30pm
Cedar Lake - Meeting Room A

Sat, Jun 08, 1:00pm - 2:00pm
Highland - Meeting Room A

Sat, Jun 08, 2:00pm - 4:00pm
Griffith-Calumet Twp - Meeting Room

Sat, Jun 08, 3:00pm - 4:00pm
Lake Station-New Chicago - Large Meeting Room

Sat, Jun 08, 3:00pm - 4:00pm
Hobart - Children's Program Room

Mon, Jun 10, 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Merrillville - Meeting Room A

Mon, Jun 10, 1:00pm - 2:00pm
St. John - Large Meeting Room

Mon, Jun 10, 1:30pm - 2:30pm
Hobart - Large Meeting Room

Mon, Jun 10, 2:00pm - 4:00pm
Cedar Lake - Children's Programming Room

Tue, Jun 11, 11:00am - 11:30am
Riverview Park

Tue, Jun 11, 12:30pm - 3:00pm
Griffith-Calumet Twp - Meeting Room

Tue, Jun 11, 2:00pm - 2:45pm
Festival Park

Tue, Jun 11, 6:00pm - 6:30pm
Hobart - Children's Program Room

Tue, Jun 11, 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Merrillville - Meeting Room A

Tue, Jun 11, 6:30pm - 7:30pm
Highland - Children's Programming Room

Tue, Jun 11, 6:30pm - 7:00pm
Munster - Large Meeting Room

Wed, Jun 12, 12:00pm - 2:00pm
Merrillville - Meeting Room A

Wed, Jun 12, 1:00pm - 2:00pm
Munster - Large Meeting Room

Wed, Jun 12, 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Griffith-Calumet Twp - Meeting Room

Thu, Jun 13, 1:00pm - 2:00pm
Hobart - Large Meeting Room

Thu, Jun 13, 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Highland - Meeting Room A

Fri, Jun 14, 11:00am - 12:15pm
Merrillville - Meeting Room A

Fri, Jun 14, 12:00pm - 2:00pm
Munster - Large Meeting Room

Fri, Jun 14, 12:30pm - 2:00pm
Highland - Meeting Room A

Fri, Jun 14, 3:00pm - 4:30pm
St. John - Large Meeting Room

Mon, Jun 17, 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Merrillville - Children's Programming Room

Mon, Jun 17, 3:00pm - 4:00pm
Cedar Lake - Meeting Room A

Mon, Jun 17, 6:30pm - 7:30pm
St. John - Large Meeting Room
Registration opens Monday, May 27 2019 at 9:00am

Tue, Jun 18, 1:30pm - 2:30pm
Hobart - Large Meeting Room

Tue, Jun 18, 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Merrillville - Meeting Room B

Wed, Jun 19, 12:00pm - 2:00pm
Merrillville - Meeting Room A

Wed, Jun 19, 6:00pm - 6:45pm
Lake Station-New Chicago - Children's Program Room

Thu, Jun 20, 11:00am - 11:30am
Lake Station-New Chicago - Children's Program Room