The power of play-based learning for homeschoolers

4 min read   •   March 14, 2024
Elmien Ackerman

Building elaborate forts out of blankets or transforming cardboard boxes into spaceships is not just child’s play; it’s play-based learning in action. Between the giggles and make-believe, your child is developing their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Play-based learning can be transformative, especially for homeschooling learners.

Beyond fun and games: The science of play

Children are naturally curious and imaginative beings. Play-based learning taps into these innate qualities, making education an exciting adventure. But play-based learning is not just a welcome break from textbooks – it’s essential for development. Playing with your learner has many benefits, including:

  • Boosted creativity and imagination: Open-ended play allows children to experiment, take risks, and build new worlds – the foundation of innovative thinking.
  • Sharpened critical thinking and problem-solving: From navigating pretend traffic jams to figuring out how to build the tallest tower, play presents endless challenges that develop mental agility and resourcefulness.
  • Fostering social and emotional intelligence: Through collaborative play, children learn to communicate, negotiate, and empathise, building their capacity for healthy relationships.
  • Boosted confidence and self-esteem: Mastering challenges in a playful environment fosters a sense of competence and a love for learning that fuels perseverance and achievement.

Here’s how to integrate this learning tool with plenty of playful possibilities from Optimi Plus.

Create a playful environment

Set the stage for creativity by establishing a dedicated play space. A conducive environment is vital – dedicate a corner in your house or a specific time to play during the day.

Prepare the space by including role-playing toys and activities. Whether it’s pretending to be astronauts exploring space or chefs in a bustling kitchen, imaginative play will help your little one think outside the box.

Embrace open-ended toys

Blocks, paints, playdough, and natural materials like leaves and sticks encourage open-ended exploration and imaginative storytelling. These activities stimulate cognitive development and enhance problem-solving skills.

Encourage your child to express themselves freely through drawings, stories, and even doodles – you’ll be amazed at the creativity that unfolds. If you still need stationery for the year, unleash your child’s creativity and develop their gross and fine motor skills with the Stationery Packs available on Optimi Plus.

Craft your own adventures

One of the key elements in play-based learning is the emphasis on early literacy. And what better way to foster a love for reading than with the Foundation Phase Readers from Optimi Plus? These captivating stories, brimming with colourful illustrations and imaginative characters, not only improve reading skills but also open the door to a world of imagination.

Encourage your child to craft their own adventures, re-interpreting storylines or creating new ones. Let them act out scenes, invent dialogue, and build worlds beyond the printed page.

Also read: The love for reading starts early

Integrate technology mindfully

Leverage the power of technology and include educational games and interactive learning experiences. Apps such as Cami can provide a fun and engaging way to reinforce concepts learned in more traditional lessons. Nurture a genuine passion for reading with Cami Literacy or foster a mathematical mindset and problem-solving abilities with Cami Maths.

Read more: How to build a solid foundation: Maths in the Foundation Phase

You can even take your child on a virtual safari through the African bush! Safari Academy 101 is a new and exciting e-learning course that empowers learners with first-hand knowledge of wildlife and nature. Encourage your child to create nature journals, write stories about their favourite animals, or even design their own conservation projects inspired by their virtual adventures.

Explore hands-on STEM

STEM is an acronym that stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. These subjects often intimidate young learners, but infusing play can help your child develop a positive attitude towards these subjects from the start. The Foundation Phase Maths Kit includes hands-on activities to help your little one explore concepts like addition, subtraction, and shapes in a hands-on, interactive way. The kit is ideal for fostering mathematical fluency, reasoning, and problem-solving skills in young learners.

Older learners can also explore STEM concepts through play with Resolute Robotics. The hands-on robotics kit allows learners to build, program, and play with their very own robots. Through experimentation and discovery, your child can develop the following skills:

  • problem-solving,
  • critical thinking skills, and
  • creativity.

The Optimi Plus advantage

At Optimi Plus, we understand the importance of play-based learning in nurturing young minds. From captivating storybooks to interactive learning platforms, we have everything you need to make learning child’s play. Visit to unlock the endless possibilities of play-based learning!