Play For Children Age 0-3

Now that we know how important play is in your child’s development, it’s key to know what type of play you should be engaging in and/or encouraging your child to take part in as they grow. We’re going to start at the beginning from newborn baby to 3 year old toddler in this segment, working our way up to the dreaded teen years!

Between the ages of 0 to 3, children seem to wake in the morning with a handful of new skills. This age group is a stage of rapid growth, both in their physical size and appearance, but also their mental and emotional development. They seem to go from a tiny baby to an independent toddler in the blink of an eye! Participating in play with your child not only aids their development, but gives you extra special bonding time with your child, so a win win all round.

Babies & Play

When they’re still tiny babies it can seem daunting knowing what kind of play to engage in, they’re so small and let’s be honest, play isn’t exactly a word you associate with tiny infants. It’s important to realise that what we as adults may not deem play or fun, will be very exciting for a new arrival to the world. Any bit of stimulation is great for your baby at this young age. Colours, shapes, and noises are all great stimulants.

So, no need to break out the football just yet, we have a simple list of activities that will help your baby’s development.

  • A Walk in the Park

Simple, but imagine how exciting all those new colours and sounds are for a little one? It’s also a great way to get some fresh air and exercise.

  • Playing with Rattles

Shaking their rattles or noisy toys for them is a great stimulant.

  • Talking and Singing

It can be lonely if you’re the parent at home taking care of the baby, and although they can’t exactly engage in conversation, if you have the urge to chat, chat to your baby. Or sing to them like no one is watching, your baby isn’t going to be able to tell anyone how awful your rendition of that ABBA track was…  It all plays an important role in your child’s development.

  • Playing Peek-A-Boo!

Of course, it’s a great way to get a smile or laugh out of older babies, but peek a boo teaches young children object permanence. This is the concept that although we can’t see something, that doesn’t mean it stops existing. By to-ing and fro-ing during a game of peek a boo, your child is learning that although they might not be able to see you for a brief period of time, you will return.

 Photo by  Carlos Martinez  on  Unsplash

Toddlers & Play

Once they learn to crawl, walk and run play will become a lot more physical. While it may feel like your heart may explode with the anxiety of them running circles around you, your toddler is learning very important life skills during this stage. Your toddler wants to become more independent and may get stroppy at your constant supervision, but as always, safety comes first!

During this stage of play, toddlers are developing their motor skills (walking, running etc) and their fine motor skills (cutting, opening, drawing etc) so all interactions are very important. Some ideas for play to aid in your child’s development of these life skills are,

  • Building

Stacking bricks or Duplo to build towers and other structures is a great way to build their fine motor skills. Having to figure out how to balance items, or put things together can be frustrating for a toddler but is also great fun for them, and great for their development.

  • Playing with Dolls & Action Figures

A form of both solitary play and social play, playing with dolls alone or with friends is really important in your child’s development. They learn a host of skills including creativity, social skills, language and communication skills.

  • Reading

Not only is it important to instill your child with the idea that reading is fun for future tasks like homework etc, but reading with and to your child helps their development leaps and bounds. Reading to your toddler is proven to help their listening and language skills, develop attention skills, and when you read with expression, your child learns about tone of voice, learning to read social signals from this.

 Photo by  Chema Photo  on  Unsplash

Photo by Chema Photo on Unsplash