It is not “just” play!
Play is essential for optimal development of a child’s brain as they start to use their creativity, grow their imagination and learn how to navigate the world around them. For toddlers, play is their main occupation and it is how they start to develop into individuals and put new ideas into practice!
“Play is the highest expression of human development in childhood, for it alone is the free expression of what is in a child’s soul.”
– Friedrich Froebel, creator of kindergarten.
Play is such an important activity that parents can do with their children. It is good to remember that it does not have to be structured or forced as free play provides children the opportunity to imagine and create. So allow yourself to spend time with your little one and let them lead you into their game!
Play supports healthy growth in many areas including;
Toddlers learn the meaning of various emotions through play such as empathy, pride and frustration which are all common emotions shown at this age.
Toddlers start to learn complex concepts such as problem solving and construction through playing with puzzles, sorting, matching and building blocks.
Toddlers transition from crawling and being dependent on others to move them around to being independent explorers on their own two feet. Play encourages the development of muscles strength and coordination through dancing to music, kicking a ball and running freely in the park.
Toddlers start using their hands and fingers more precisely and learn how to make their own creations, as well as handle tricky tasks such as eating and dressing. Toddlers start to strengthen their fingers and develop their dexterity when engaged with play using playdough, Lego, playing with the sand and finger painting