7 Ways to Build Essential Skills Through Play

7 Ways to Build Essential Skills Through Play

Dec 14 , 2021

Alex deMoca

1. Just PLAY! Through play, they discover new concepts and practice many skills

Simple things like peek-a-boo, zipping and unzipping, or building with Lego pieces are activities with almost no rules, and they can engage independently or with someone. Offer toys that help your child develop physically, socially, emotionally, and cognitively.

2. Make sure that de toys are age-appropriate and, most important, try to balance free and guided play

The toys you offer and the activities you decide to do should meet your child’s needs, abilities, interests, be enjoyable, and not overstimulate them. Toys that are too specific and do too much, limit kids’ imagination and stop them from being creative.

3. Ask open-ended questions like “What will happen if..?”

These types of questions encourage toddlers to offer more than a yes or no response. That stimulates their thinking and language skills and helps them see various possibilities and make meaning of their play activity. You can ask these questions during the day ( Tell me about what you’re doing?, How do you know..?, How did this happen?, What can you do about it?)

4. Play with simple rules like taking turns or sharing toys within the play

This kind of play is more structured, with you there to provide some directions for it to lead to a specific learning experience. Keep it a hands-on play rather than a work-sheet.

5. Show them how things work but let them experiment if they want to

Give them the chance to play with real objects, like boxes, spoons, wrapping paper. These can be used as usual or can become ships, houses, tunnels, or anything your child’s imagination wants to.

6. Have a supporting role in play BUT let children take the lead.

Offer a toy, an activity, or just an idea and see what your kid does with it. Observe and remember that there is no right way in this type of play, but there can be a lot of “new ways.” Also, take advantage of this type of play to help them learn something new.

7. Encourage free play with materials of their choice to reach beyond their imagination

Try using open-ended toys, like blocks, or stones and let them lead the play. Choose toys that can be used in various ways that spark a child’s imagination and inspire exploration and problem-solving. Having a variety of things to play with supports your child’s emotional development.