PLAY to Learn: Purposeful Play and It's Role in Homeschooling

homeschool purposeful play Sep 27, 2023
kids playing with duplo lego bricks with the title PLAY to Learn: Purposeful Play and It's Role in Homeschooling PLAY to Learn Malia Phelps Waller


Welcome to the world of purposeful play! I am Malia Phelps Waller, a homeschool mama of two, special educator, and behavior analyst, in this comprehensive guide, we will explore the importance of play in child development, different types of purposeful play, and how to set up purposeful play experiences. So, let's dive in!

Why Purposeful Play?

Children are naturally wired to play. Playing is not just for fun but also a crucial part of a child's development. This brings us to the concept of purposeful play. Purposeful play allows a child to make meaning out of their play. The outcome of the play is a new skill, whether it's developing social skills, empathy, executive functioning skills like organization and time management, or experimenting with literacy and math skills.

Purposeful play can be guided by the parent through providing materials, games, art, and fun with the purpose of teaching a specific skill or it can be independent and child-led. In Purposeful PLAY, we are Purposefully setting up Learning opportunities and Assessing our child's skills to Yay! Celebrate their learning in a fun way!

Common Types of Purposeful Play

There are several common types of purposeful play that contribute to a child's development in unique ways. Here are some of them:

  • Block & Building Play: Children develop their fine and gross motor skills, coordination, and problem-solving abilities, and learn to work together.
  • Books: Reading to children and letting them explore books increases their vocabulary and communication skills.
  • Dramatic Play: Role-playing activities like playing house help children understand their place in the world and develop empathy, communication skills, and relationship-building capabilities.
  • Puzzles: Puzzles teach children problem-solving, sorting, and hand-eye coordination.
  • Board Games: Board games encourage critical thinking, organization, turn-taking, rule-following, communication, and empathy.
  • Music: Music promotes spatial awareness, gross motor movement, rhythm, and creative and emotional expression.
  • Outdoor Play: Outdoor play enhances gross motor skills, problem-solving, and flexible thinking skills.

Steps for Setting Up Purposeful Play

Setting up purposeful play is not as daunting as it may seem. Here are some simple steps to guide you:

  1. Create an organized play space with purposeful play materials. 
  2. Lean into your child's interests.
  3. Look for teachable moments in your play interactions.
  4. Extend learning throughout the day.
  5. Read, snuggle, laugh, and play games together. Be a part of their world.

 Incorporating purposeful play into your day can be so rewarding, yes even for our older kiddos too. By understanding the significance of purposeful play, our children's unique playful learning styles, exploring different styles and ways of play, and utilizing these quick steps as a guide you can really create a learning environment for your kids at home that is going to promote your child's growth and development. If you're eager to dive even deeper into the world of purposeful play, consider joining us for our quarterly workshop—an interactive opportunity to learn, grow, and have fun together!


Grab the Homeschool Toolbox today! Your ultimate homeschooling and playful learning guide. 

I need this!

Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.