Your little one actually learns a great deal when he is mucking about with his playthings. Besides boosting his physical strength and social skills, he’ll advance his logical reasoning even as he builds confidence.
Junior’s playtime preferences will change as he advances in age, he’ll become more creative and imaginative, even experiment with a wider variety of toys. So, be flexible and help him reap the benefits of play. By the way, if your tot seems to lack interest in playing, either on his own or with others, it may be a sign of an underlying developmental disorder, so check with his doctor.
Your kiddo can either engage in structured or unstructured play ― each hones a different set of skills:
• Structured play Also called goal-oriented play, these organised activities usually occur at a fixed time or location and feature rules and procedures. These can range from sports and dance, to music and drama classes, as well as board and card games. Group-based games will advance his social skills and nurture leadership.
• Unstructured play Otherwise known as free play, these unplanned activities allow your child to use his imagination to create his own scenarios or even playthings. Activities can range from painting, drawing or colouring, to acting, playing dress-up and making houses out of cupboard boxes or blankets.
If your tot seems to lack interest in playing, either on his own or with others, it may be a sign of an underlying developmental disorder.
Here are several fun — and simple — experiences that will encourage your child to explore and grow!
GO ON A TREASURE HUNT Bury some of your child’s toys or blocks and figurines in a shallow pail of sand and let him dig through in search of these different items. This fun activity will be a treat for your child’s developing sense of touch. Just be sure to keep an eye on him to ensure that he doesn’t swallow any sand.
PLAY DRESS UP You don’t have to wait till Halloween to let your little one dress in costumes. Let your child pick a classic or favourite bedtime story, then act it out with him using clothes from your wardrobes. Encourage him to use his imagination to reinvent the ending on a creative spin.
ORGANISE A TEA PARTY Hand your child a plastic tea set and get her to organise an impromptu tea party for her favourite stuffed animals. Let your kiddo fill the tea pot with water, then encourage her to go around the table filling up the tea cups. This activity will challenge her agility and ability to coordinate, so make sure to have towels at hand to mop up any spills!
SHOP FOR GROCERIES Get your tot to help you pick up provisions for the family at the supermarket ― delegate several items on your shopping list to him. He can even put his counting skills to the test by selecting the required number of items, say, three boxes of biscuits. Remember to be patient and encouraging ― shower him with praise when he gets it right.
NURTURE HIS GREEN FINGERS Introduce him to the wonders of plants and help him grow a plant ― he’ll feel a great sense of achievement when he succeeds. Nor do you need any soil ― yay, no mess! Put some wet cotton wool at the base of a glass cup or jar and drop some green beans on top. Place it in spot which has sufficient sunlight. In just two to three days, your child will be able to spot roots growing. This way, your little learner will get to learn more about plants, understanding how “food” can help him grow.
Main photo: iStock
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