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Play & learning

Children learn and get new skills by playing, trying things, doing it themselves, and being praised. Play teaches them to think and discover how things work through touching, feeling, and moving things. There are many safe activities you can do inside and outside to help them develop.

Things to remember when playing with your toddler:

  • The simplest things can be fascinating to little children.

  • Toddlers need different things to keep them entertained.

  • Children are watching and learning from you the whole time (the good stuff and the bad).

  • You play a big part in how your child understands the world.

  • If you behave well, your toddler is likely to also.

  • Encourage your toddler to join in your activities - it gives them a feeling of importance and belonging.

This can mean some jobs take a little more time, but if you can make that time, it’s worth it.

Inside activities with your toddler

  • swing, spin, and rock gently to help develop their sense of balance, and their eyes

  • roll on the floor with them

  • build towers with boxes or blocks, then knock them down

  • push and pull or stack toys—they help a child learn balance and building skills

  • bang kitchen things like pots and pans with wooden or plastic spoons

  • play in large cardboard boxes.

  • play with bubbles when they’re in the bath

  • have things they can put inside one another, such as blocks, or coloured pegs inside an ice-cream container

  • make things with play dough

  • paint and draw

  • dress up - this encourages their imagination and interaction

  • listen to music, sing, dance and play with musical instruments.

Outside activities with your toddler

  • roll down a small hill

  • spin slowly on merry-go-rounds or swing on swings

  • learn to throw and kick balls

  • walk along low walls, holding their hand or supporting them

  • climb in safe places

  • go for walks and stop to pick up things like twigs or leaves to help their movement and balance

  • walk barefoot on surfaces like sand, grass, dirt, and mud

  • splash and jump in puddles

  • go for a drive, find a park and throw bread to birds and ducks

  • chase bubbles

  • play with a bucket and spade.

Remember: children are watching and learning from you the whole time.

An interesting link from Plunket
Here’s something I read on the Plunket website I thought you might find interesting.
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