Playtime is an important part of your toddler’s development. Although it may seem like it’s just for fun and relaxation, playtime helps your toddler develop their motor, social, thinking, emotional and language skills.
Why is playtime important?Each time your toddler experiences something new or repeats learned skills, their brain is laying down neural pathways that help connect their experiences and provide context for their interactions with the world around them. In a very real sense, playtime is like training for being an adult.
How toddlers playToddlers are curious. They enjoy exploring new objects, sights, sounds and textures, and they will use any opportunity to learn and discover.
- Toys – whether your toddler is playing with toys or just everyday household items, they enjoy interacting with all objects and learning about what they do and what they can do with them
- Activity – toddlers are full of energy and love to move, and not only do they enjoy playing with toys but they also love climbing, jumping, swimming, sliding and running.
- Sharing – toddlers are still learning to share, and although they might struggle at times to play with others they generally enjoy the company of other children and adults.
- Engagement – sometimes toddlers like to do things by themselves, but they also like adults there so that they can ask questions and describe what they’re doing and experiencing.
- Environment – toddlers love to interact with their environment. Whether at the park, at the beach, in the pool or just in the backyard, toddlers are curious about different sensory experiences and the world they see around them.
Types of development
- Physical – your toddler develops their fine motor skills through using interactive toys and objects and their gross motor skills through activities like climbing and running. Anything your toddler can do with their hands and body will help them to develop their motor skills.
- Intellectual – toddlers love to learn about how things work and enjoy puzzles, games and building things. Toys with different numbers and colours can help them to develop concepts of quantity and quality.
- Social – by involving your toddler with other children and in everyday tasks around the home, your toddler learns about the value of other people, their feelings and emotions and their roles in social units.
- Language – songs, books, games and interactions with other children and adults can help your toddler to develop their communication skills and to learn how to describe their feelings and needs and how to navigate social situations.
Safe playtime with your toddlerToddlers can sometimes be curious to a fault. Because exploration is such an important part of their growth and development, you must take precautions to provide some limit to their discoveries.
- Provide toys that are age appropriate.
- Prevent access to household medicines and chemicals.
- Always supervise your toddler around water.
- Keep your toddler away from flames, fire and hot objects.
- Supervise your toddler around pets and other animals.