Have you wondered why you find all sorts of toys in the Children’s Area at the Denton Public Library? Because children learn by playing. Fred Rogers said, “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning.” It is through pretend play that children develop their language and social skills. They speak in more complex ways, sometimes imitating adult language. They learn to negotiate with their peers about how to bring their vision of their imaginary world into being. They use play to develop their cognitive functions by exploring, manipulating, asking questions, and finding out how things work. Play is essential to a child’s development.
At each library location, you will find a variety of toys that facilitate language and literacy development through play. At Emily Fowler Central Library, there are puzzles, play kitchen with toy food, plates, cups and utensils, letter games, Duplo blocks, large building blocks, various manipulatives, and board books for reading. At North Branch Library, there are letters with a magnet board, free-standing food market, play food, puppet playhouse, puzzles, puppets, building blocks, board books, and more early childhood toys. And at South Branch Library, there are puppets, puppet theater, letters with a magnet board, free-standing food market, play food, puzzles, Duplo blocks, board books, various early childhood toys, and a large interactive wall with various manipulatives mounted on it.
Puzzles and building blocks promote problem solving and develop fine motor movement, which is needed for writing. Letters and letter games promote letter awareness and identification, essential for reading. Dramatic Play, or acting out stories, is a way for children to show their feelings, learn vocabulary, express their ideas and creativity, learn independence, and learn new skills. Children who engage in dramatic play show high levels of reasoning and motivational skills. “Puppets, the playhouse, play food, and the market give children a place to play together, and since children learn by playing, these toys and structures provide a solid educational opportunity for our youngest customers,” said Kerol Harrod, Public Services Librarian, North Branch Library.
The Interactive Wall at South Branch focuses on many aspects of pre-reading/early literacy. “While reading is a very important aspect to literacy, for a young child, literacy is more than just reading…key literacy components include singing, writing, talking, and playing. The literacy wall focuses on each of the skills. The spinning wheel promotes writing (strengthening finger muscles), talking (spinning wheel has pictures to encourage children to tell a story), and playing. The wall features different nursery rhymes and songs. All of the activities featured on the wall promote literacy skills,” stated Rebecca Ivey, Public Services Librarian, South Branch Library.
Come visit any library location with your young child and engage in some creative play with them. You will help build your child’s cognitive and social skills and help lay the foundation for them to learn to read. And, hopefully, you both will have some fun.
Youth Services Librarian
Emily Fowler Central Library