Play is the way a child learns about the world around him. This article talks about play and development from birth to 2 years old. It explores how children of different ages play and also explains how to choose appropriate play equipment.
Up to 6 months
- In the first months, the baby' senses are not fully developed. He can only see things that are about 8-14 inches from his eyes.
- He enjoys soft sounds and music, your cooing and even singing.
- At about 3-6 months, your child can suck his fingers and grasp a toy that has been put in his hand.
- He begins to reach for toys on his own and is able to pass it back and forth in his own hands.
- Provide toys that are big, colorful, and full of sounds and music, preferably moving, like a mobile.
- Toys at this stage also need to be safe for chewing so make sure about that.
6 to 12 months
- At about 9 months, the baby becomes aware that objects still exist even though he can no longer see them. Hide his favorite toy under his blanket and he will lift it up and voila, he’ll find it!
- Your child is also becoming increasingly mobile - crawling, pulling to stand and cruise.
- He is also becoming more adept with his hands, picking up whatever he finds on the floor and putting it into his mouth.
- Balls are a favorite at this stage. He can crawl after them, throw them and watch them drop with a bounce.
- From about 9 months, he also enjoys shape sorters, which test his problem solving abilities, toy telephones which he can use to imitate.
- He is also able to start stacking crudely when he is close to 12 months.
- When he is beginning to walk, he will enjoy push toys as he leans on them and takes a few steps forward.
- He can explore all corners of the house.
- His hands have become more coordinated so he can scribble a drawing and start to sort out his toys.
- He is more experimental in his play; for example, what happens if I drop this bowl?
- His curiosity motivates him to try things repeatedly to gain mastery over it. As he reaches 24 months, he is continually testing his limits and begins to insist on his independence.
- He will have the infamous temper tantrums as he begins to let you know what he thinks.
- More active than ever, a child is an imitator of the parent in everyday life.
- He likes any game that is physically involving so provide him with push and pull toys. Give him large building blocks as his hands are more coordinated and are beginning to stack more effectively.
- You could also give him a set of crayons (ideally non-toxic by nature) and paper to start scribbling.
- Provide your child with a safe area where he can climb, hide, slide and practice all his emerging gross motor skills.
- Puzzles will be intriguing at this age, as he is more capable of problem solving and learning from trial and error.
- Making music with tiny instruments is a thrill as they learn the idea of rhythm and tune.
Your role as parents
- Parents are the child's best playmates. Nothing can replace them.
- Creative children are usually the result of parents who have involved themselves with the child's play.
- Join in and play at the child's level it brings about some wonderful experiences.
- Daily playtime is a great way to bond with your child, so go ahead, make it amazing!
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