The importance of toddler play cannot be underestimated. Play is a child’s work. As a child learns to crawl and walk, the world becomes a very interesting and exciting place to him. He has a burning desire to find out about it using all his senses. And now he can reach a lot of the things that he wants to explore. Playing is your child’s way of discovering how the world works and how he fits into it. He also uses play to work through stressful situations in his life and come to terms with them.
To ensure that this stage of your child’s life is as stress free and enjoyable as possible for you both here are some things you can do:
• Make sure that things you do not want your child to touch or play with are out of reach (and preferably, out of sight). There’ll be plenty of time to display your valuable ornaments when your child is older. Small children are very persistent and do not really get the meaning of the word “No”. So life will be easier for you and less frustrating for your toddler if he cannot even see the things you don’t want him to have. If there are cupboards in reach that you do not want him to have access to, you can fit child locks to them.
• Ensure that your child has
free access to lots of interesting things. There are lots of great toys
available and it’s good to buy a few of these. To save money look out
for good quality used toys at boot fairs and charity shops. You’ll also
find that older babies and young toddlers are often most interested in
everyday things like cardboard boxes, pots and pans, keys, plastic tubs,
bunches of keys, the contents of your handbag!
Click here for some easy, everyday, fun toddler play ideas.
• Organise times when your child can play with:
- and other messy substances.
• Children get so much pleasure from these activities. They are also very important to your child’s development. Messy play helps to develop hand and eye co-ordination. It also is your child’s first introduction to practical science – learning how different substances feel and react.
• Help your child to build hideaways, houses and caves. This can be just a sheet draped over a table or a collection of large cardboard boxes.
• Have a variety of percussion instruments. If you don't want to listen to your toddler banging his drum non stop for a long time then you can keep the instruments in a separate box (rather than with the rest of the toys) and get them out for special times having fun with music and noises together.
• A large collection of coloured wooden bricks and blocks are great for creating towers, houses for soft toys, zoos, etc. You can use them for sorting games, learning colours, counting, etc.
• Balls of different shapes and sizes are great fun for playing all kinds of games that toddlers love.
• Ride on and rocking toys give your child lots of exercise and enjoyment. At the same time they will be developing balance and control of large muscle movement.
All these activities will provide lots
of stressfree toddler play. I have chosen them because they are simple
to organise and relatively cheap. A lot of these toys can be found
second hand at garage sales, boot fairs and charity shops.