Children need to play, and not just alone or with their peers. In order to achieve their full developmental potential, an essential part of play for young children is to play with their parents and siblings.
Why is play important?
How can you play with your child?Play ideas for babies (3 to 6 months)Babies first learn to recognise your voice, face and touch, and associate them with comfort. They then explore through grabbing and putting things in their mouths.
Play ideas for older infants (7 to 12 months)At this stage, children start to learn about who they are and to experiment being separate from their carers. They need lots of things to touch, but also to be able to move around and explore safely. They also learn to imitate you and to try to communicate.
Play ideas for toddlers (1 to 2 years)As they start to move independently, toddlers need to practise motor skills such as pushing and pulling and developing hand-eye coordination. As they start to talk, they need opportunities to practise language. Their attention span is short and they need lots of changes
of activity. Their world is also widening and they like to go on small outings.
Play ideas for pre-schoolers (2 to 5 years)Preschoolers are beginning to learn to share and take turns, and they like imaginative and pretend play. They also like activities which let them move about freely
(eg. running, climbing and riding pedal toys).
What kinds of toys should you buy for your child?Parents often feel that they need to buy young children lots of toys. However, many toys that are bought for children may not allow them to use their own imagination and create their own games. This can lead to children playing with them for a while and then wanting more.A few toys and resources that allow your child to be creative and that can be rotated from time to time are likely to be of more value to him/her than large numbers of expensive toys.
Examples of valuable ‘toys’ for your child
Can media be used as effective play?
Things to note