You can't have real learning with a child unless they are playing. Real playing is how real learning takes place. You can have conditioning and a Pavlovian conditioning of his dogs, or behaviors modifications through other means which we look on as very serious, and we generally call learning, but it's not learning. It's conditioning.
Real learning takes place by what Maria Montesorri would call the absorbent mind of the child. Simply absorbing their universe, absorbing it, becoming it, and they do this through play. Play can be the most serious undertaking of a child's life. It is the most serious undertaking. They are completely entrained in play. Mind, the three parts of the mind; thought, feeling, action, the body, every aspect of the child's self entrained solely focuses totally on the activity of absorbing their world. Absorbing their environment. It is the most serious active to their life because they're literally building their construction of knowledge of the world, of themselves, of the relationship between the two and laying down all the foundations for the later forms of intelligence.
Contributed by: Ola