• They learn how to feel comfortable being with other children, and how to be a good friend.
• Play gets children ready for learning—paying attention to adults, playing nicely with others, and feeling comfortable being away from their parents.
• Pretend play is one way children learn about difficult feelings like anger and fear.
TIP: Make the places in your home where you spend a lot of time safe places where your child can play and be supervised easily. Give your child lots of time to explore with things like water, sand, boxes, or any other safe item that your child finds interesting.
TIP: Provide simple and safe items, like plastic cups and plates, pots and pans, books, blocks, play tools, and crayons. This way, your child can copy your actions and work. Items should be stored in a safe place or in a container where children can easily see and get to them.
TIP: Describe what’s going on to your child:
• “I see you drew a brown circle.”
• “What a long jump you made!”
TIP: Ask questions.
• “How did you make this yummy soup?”
• “What will happen next?”
TIP: Find items that match your child’s interests. If your child likes to watch ants crawl along the sidewalk, read a book about insects!
TIP: Visit special places related to your child’s interests. You can start with a visit to your local library. You will get ideas for future play.
When you let your child guide the activities, you get a window into the delightful world of a toddler—a world where everything is new and full of possibility.
American Academy of Pediatrics, (2015). Playing is How Toddlers Learn. Healthy Children [Online]. Available: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/toddler/fitness/Pages/Playing-is-How-Toddlers-Learn.aspx [Nov. 21, 2015]