Playing is more than just enjoyable for toddlers, it’s how they learn and make meaning of the world around them. Through play, children learn and develop vital life skills such as physical, emotional, cognitive, social and creative skills that will help form the foundations for learning and growth at a young age.
What are the Benefits of Play?
For a toddler, playing is the most natural thing in the world. However, there is a lot more to it than just ‘play’. Research has shown that play is imperative to a toddler’s brain development and in fact play with a parent or carer involved helps them to develop their social skills as well an understanding that play is a collaborative and social process.
Play gives an amazing opportunity for parents and carers to build close bonds with their toddler. There are some simple ways that you can engage with your toddler in play.
Ways to encourage play based learning:
- Singing nursey rhymes with the corresponding hand actions
- Blowing bubbles
- Building familiar objects out of playdough
- Using instruments such as hand drums, bells and maracas
Toddlers learn through experiences being tailored to their curiosity and age as well as constant repetition.
Remember, your toddler will often send you signs of encouragement when they are wanting to play like smiles and laughter, chatter and discussion and a keen observing interest in an object or their surroundings.
Play gives parents and caregivers a wonderful opportunity to continue to build close relationships and helps toddlers to see that they are collaborators and contributors to the play and the world around them.
For more information on play based learning at Only About Children, see our Grow Curriculum
For more great reading see:
Exploring the Benefits of Sensory Play for Children
Child Developmental Milestones: A Checklist for Babies & Toddlers