Playing “Outside the Box”

Play is a natural instinct for babies and toddlers.  Play helps them to learn about the world around them and about themselves.  The more experiences your child or infant partakes in, the more information is stored to complete the learning experience. Your toddler or infant will learn to perform operations through trial and error and thus also learn to problem solve.  When your child is playing with another person, they are learning social skills. They will also learn sharing, caring, and verbal skills.

You can enhance children’s learning experiences and their development by providing them with a wide variety of activities.  Role play with children to give them the experience, and then let them provide their own.  When role playing with a child, discuss what you are doing or add dialogue—this increases the child’s vocabulary skills and provides them the opportunity to put the words with the action.  You can also encourage their imagination by using items “outside of the box.”  For example, you can use blocks to build a castle or a bird’s nest.  Use a feather or toothbrush to paint with.  The more experiences you provide, the more their understanding will grow.  Have fun and observe your child— they might even spark an idea for you to extend the learning experience in a whole new way.

What “outside of the box” ways have you and your child played recently?

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