HomeBlogThe Role of Play in Toddler Development

The Role of Play in Toddler Development

Take a look at a toddler who is playing quietly by himself or with others. It may seem like it’s just mere kids’ play, but a toddler who is even sitting down by himself and checking out a toy is really in the midst of a whole lot of learning! Read on…

Play – the basis of early childhood learning

Whenever a little child plays, even if it doesn’t look like much, important physical skills are being picked up. The little one is gaining muscle control, balance, and coordination with every movement he makes, even the small ones. Each new skill mastered lets a toddler progress to the next one, building on a foundation that leads to more complicated physical tasks. Yes, kids were not born with an innate ability to kick a ball, ride a bike or jump a rope! These are achieved only because they have been mastering the use of their limbs and steadily strengthening their muscles!

Toddlers always want to do more. You can take advantage of your toddler’s eagerness to motivate him to keep trying until a new skill is mastered. Remember too, that active bodies and active minds go hand in hand, so encourage these from as young as possible. Studies on toddler play habits have also shown that an active toddler is likely to remain active later.

Provide the opportunities for play, and they’ll learn

Playing comes naturally for toddlers, and through playing, they learn. So, when you’re attempting to manipulate this fact, remember to keep all the fun elements alive! It should, in other words, be fun and games for them. Let there be lots of exploring, asking of questions, and the use of imagination while they practice fine motor skills, such as stacking blocks or coloring. Parents should let toddlers have their fun while providing supervision so they stay safe while they learn.

The right toys for the job

The toys your toddler plays with can help in shaping his development in important ways, but as you walk into a toy store today, it’s all too easy to feel overwhelmed at the choices available. There is a huge array of toys that have been developed for the toddler market. How do you choose the right ones for your child? Here are some guidelines:

Toys that will ‘grow’ with your child

Most parents have had the experience of buying toys that only manage to capture their child’s attention for a short period. You can avoid this situation by looking for toys that can be fun at different developmental stages. Good examples are: Toddler-friendly dollhouses, trains and other vehicles, stuffed animals and dolls.

Toys that encourage exploration and problem-solving

Through play little ones get to master and learn new skills. You can help in this by picking toys that give kids a chance to figure something out on their own – or with a little coaching – build their logical thinking skills and help them become wise problem-solvers. The right toys also help children develop spatial relations skills (understanding how things fit together), hand-eye coordination, and fine motor skills (using the small muscles in the hands and fingers).

Think shape-sorters, blocks, nesting blocks or cups. For older toddlers, puzzles and building bricks are perfect for fueling their imagination.

Toys that spark creativity

Creativity may be an inborn factor, but still, every child can be nurtured into creative thinking, especially with the help of toys and props. Look for toys that can be used to help act one scenes from your child’s favourite movie, or scenes he has seen in a story book. For example, a toy tool set would make great props as he acts out a scene from Handy Manny. Language and literacy skills, problem-solving skills, and the ability to sequence (put events in a logical order) can be acquired via pretend play.

You can also try toy blocks, toy food and plastic plates, action figures, stuffed animals and dolls, trains and trucks, toddler-friendly dollhouses.


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