Children learn through best through fun and play, sometimes that’s the best way for all of us to learn. For adults, when learning is less stressful and even relaxing, our bodies pump more blood and oxygen to the brain and consequently our brains are more receptive to learning and retaining information.
For infants and children, the foundation for all future learning occurs through early play. This includes problem solving, attachment, and social development. It is very important that you take the time and play with your child; but in a way that stimulates without over stimulation, allowing for breaks and self-regulation; guides and teaches, without being overly controlling; and by following your child's lead and supporting, to allow your child develop creativity and self-initiation. Obviously it is very difficult to do all of these things at once. Understanding your child, and the communication coming from your child is an important aspect of helping your child make the most of these tremendous learning opportunities.
You don’t need to go out and purchase expensive toys. Safe items typically found in the home, yard, and natural surroundings can easily be used to help a child learn and prepare to learn complex concepts and skills. Inexpensive, typical toys, can go a long ways to helping your child learn and have fun. The supplemental material here, through the chapters on creativity, stress, and elsewhere will provide much more information.
For additional information on the internet, please feel free to use the Google Parenting and/or Scholar search engines below.
Yehuda: How (and Why) to Play with Your Child in Six Steps
How your child benefits from play/ BabyCenter
Rethinking Children's Play - FamilyEducation.com
Growth & Development
Ten Things to Do with Your Child Before Age Ten
Children Learn through Play - Lone Parenting Adice and Information
Understanding how children learn through play
How Children Learn Through Play: Social-emotional Growth and Cognition in the Early Years
What Children Learn Through Play
How Children Learn Through Play
What do children learn through play?