Posted by Denise Meyerson
In Literacy, Numeracy, Science on June 27, 2022

Perhaps your child wants to be an astronaut or a data analyst or in fact any job that we don’t know about yet as it doesn’t exist. None of us can be totally certain about what tomorrow looks like.  The question is: how do we ensure that our children are ready for a world where machines are already replacing jobs?

We all want our children to have the essential skills they need to move forward with confidence.  We want them to have the right skills to enable them to thrive no matter what the future holds.

Play is the way that children learn to be flexible and identify their strengths.  Play isn’t about facts and figures.  Instead, it’s about problem solving, testing our new ideas and collaborating to find better solutions.

There are the 5 skills that have been identified as the Super Skills by the LEGO Foundation.  Are you incorporating these skills into your play activities?  The more your child uses them, the more they become an intrinsic skill for them that they rely on as they continue through their school career.

Physical skills such as running, jumping or learning a new sport. 

Physical play is so important because it unleashes endorphins which in turn boost children’s mood.  Physical skills include fine motor skills which are vital to be able to grasp objects and manipulate them. Examples of activities that promote physical skills are:

  • Making models and using blocks and LEGO bricks in different ways.
  • Any outdoor activity that involves climbing, swinging or a physical sport such as kicking a ball.

Social Skills –when children play games together and work on solving problems in groups. 

This form of collaboration helps children to build empathy and get along better with friends and family.  It’s also a way of improving their mental health and wellbeing. Here are some examples of activities that include social skills:

  • Games or activities that are played in a group and not individually.
  • Free play or structured play that includes other children or involves following instructions from an adult.

Emotional Skills – the ability to practise dealing with situations that might be uncertain or where the outcome isn’t predictable

Children learn to cope with losing and deal with their frustration when things don’t go according to plan. They begin to build resilience when the end result isn’t as they had wanted. Examples of activities that build emotional skills:

  • Doing a puzzle that is a slight extension beyond your child’s developmental level.
  • Following instructions to construct something new that hasn’t been tried previously.

Cognitive skills – the ability to use complex reasoning skills, memory and concentration. 

This level of flexibility is important when we aren’t sure about what the future holds and where it’s going to be more important than ever to be able to adapt to the challenges that life brings. Examples of activities that involve cognitive skills:

  • Memory games where your child has to focus all the way through.
  • Games which involve numbers and colours and the aphabet.

Creative Skills – the ability to perform, write, compose and tell stories

It’s an important way in which we make connections, try things out and also make sense of abstract ideas.  Business leaders in fact constantly tell us that it’s a key skill they look for in their team members.

  • Use arts and crafts to draw, paint and create.
  • Stage elaborate scenarios and scenes that include story-telling.

The great news is that when children play, they learn these skills at the same time.  Through play, children also start to develop a love for ongoing learning. Even a simple game like ‘hide and seek’ gives children so many skills: 

  • They have to logically work out where others are hiding.
  • They need to reason and find a place where they can hide.
  • They run around looking for others which is a physical skill and they have to build an awareness of their surroundings. 
  • They also have to be a bit strategic in their hiding and also have to get on with others in the group.

The more your child plays, the more of these skills are used on a consistent basis.  These are the skills for the future! Are you ready to play?

A big thank you to our wonderful guest blogger, Denise from YAY4Play who shared her five super skills for supporting your children in our ever-changing world! You can connect with Denise over on Instagram at @yay_4_play and shop her incredible STEM kits below!

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