It has often been said that play is the work of childhood, and for good reason: each time Baby plays, he is also learning, and that’s his most important job!
At this stage, Baby is likely able to keep themselves entertained on his own for short periods of time, but it can be helpful for you to step in as his playmate sometimes to build on the experience.
As he plays, Baby is working on all sorts of skills, and playing with him will only aid his development. Here are some fun ways to play with Baby that will also help him grow.
- Create art: Setting up a mini studio at home is a great way to help Baby express his creative side. Work with him and teach him about creating different shapes, mixing colors – you can even show him how to draw his favorite animal (amazing artistic ability not required)! Though an unstructured finger painting session is also a great time, having your help will teach him things he wouldn’t learn solo.
- Play make-believe: Help fire up Baby’s imagination with a pretend situation. While at home, for example, pretend you’re camping and the blankets are a tent. Ask him what he thinks you should use to cook your dinner, as a sleeping bag, etc. with objects he can find around the house. Prompting him to do this will force him to think figuratively and imaginatively, and will let you better understand how his mind works.
- Get exploring: Going on a nature walk is a fun way to play with Baby in a different environment. Let him explore different textures in the leaves, and help build his vocabulary by labeling items you find along the way. Having you with him will help him feel safe in a new situation, which will, in turn, boost his confidence about experiencing new things.
- Be active: There are few things more fun for Baby than running, jumping, and letting loose. Join in and encourage him to reach new heights. This will allow him to develop gross motor skills in a secure way as he is under your supervision.
- Build towers: Toddlers love making things big, big, big! Help him stack blocks to make a giant tower, and let him knock it down when you’re done. Grabbing the pieces works his fine motor skills, and watching a tower crash teaches cause and effect.
Adults may not associate playing with learning, but each time Baby plays, he is developing a new set of skills. With you as his playmate, there’s no stopping his imagination. The more you play with Baby, the more you’ll learn, too – all about your best little friend!