“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.”

– Fred Rogers

Play is one of the most important ways that children learn about the world. When children play with adults and other children, they learn how to get along with others, to problem solve, and how to communicate and use language effectively.

Language is one of the most important skills children learn while they play

Play develops as children develop. First, children mouth toys, then throw or bang them. This is their way of experimenting and learning how different objects feel and taste. Then, they start to play with toys by themselves and model how they see others play. Then, they start to play with others and begin to engage in pretend plan. An example is, they may pretend their teddy bear is real and feed it or put it to sleep. Another type of play is symbolic play. They may pretend a block is a car and make it go! There are many stages of play and by playing children learn and experiment with language. 

Incorporating a set playtime into the child’s daily routine is highly recommended. A 30-45-minute period dedicated to playtime should be scheduled daily at a time when the child is well rested, fed, changed, and available for learning. Once a time has been selected, keep to this schedule as routines are important to a child’s well-being.

Choose toys your child is interested in, use a fun voice, and try and stay engaged in the play. Stay off your phone, even though it is hard. 

Lastly, choose toys that do not require batteries. Good old fashion toys are the best. You want toys where your child “does the doing” and not the toy.