Books, dolls, and blocks -- oh my! Playtime is probably the best part of your toddler's day (and yours, too). Here are three ways to make that special time even more fun and interactive.
One of the best things about being a parent is that you get to play like a child again. Playing with your toddler is great fun, but there’s reason for this fun activity, too. Playtime facilitates the development of important physical and cognitive skills. It can also help your toddler to better understand the world around them.
Here are three ways to breathe new life into your toddler’s playtime:
Challenge their imagination
Encourage your toddler to use their imagination to create wild, wonderful worlds that don’t already exist in their playroom. Building castles from pillows and blankets, singing into spoon ‘microphones’ and hosting tea parties for their soft toys are classic examples of imaginary play.
You can also encourage this type of play by asking your toddler open-ended questions. So you might say something like, “What would happen if our couch was a boat?” or “Do you want to put on a puppet show with your dolls?” You might be surprised at what your toddler comes up with all on their own.
Giving your child loads of toys to play with isn’t always the best idea. If your toddler’s play area is too cramped, they may feel overwhelmed and lose focus.
Keep some of their toys in a cupboard and change "old" for "new" every few weeks. You’ll be surprised how much they like their plastic piano when they've not used it for a couple of days.
Give them space
There’s a lot to be said for encouraging independent play while you keep an eye out nearby. Playing alone allows your toddler to feel more independent and can help to encourage creativity.
When you do play together, be sure to give your toddler the opportunity to direct playtime. Often mums feel the need to talk the whole time that they’re playing; give your child the opportunity to speak, too. You may be surprised at what your toddler says when you give them the chance.