By Nandini Aravind
Importance Of Play For A Toddler
If you have found your toddler jumping around acting crazy, playing silly and always engrossed in toys, don’t worry because at this stage play is very important as any other activity.
Why is Play so important for a toddler?
A toddler is like a sponge absorbing all that is happening around him/her. Their curious minds are always looking to learn something new. One of the ways by which they learn new things around them is through play.
Play is very important in a toddler’s life it helps in physical, cognitive and mental growth. Also it is a chance for parents to spend their time creatively with their kids. It helps develop a child’s imagination and sense of creativity.
Some of benefits of Play are:
• Helps in developing their fine motor skills and hand eye co-ordination
• It helps build confidence and sense of being.
• It teaches them a lot about their environment and how things work around them
• It keeps them physically active and away from the TV.
• Promotes their imagination, creativity and independence
Toddlers love to entertain themselves or be entertained by others. Most of the times toddlers are engaged in free play or unstructured play. This kind of play just happens depending upon the interests of your toddler at that moment like playing with dolls, kicking a ball or even just singing to themselves. This kind of play helps them use their imagination, it enhances their creativity. You can always join them or let them play on their own. All you have to do is give them few ideas and they’ll take it from there. For ex- why don’t you teach your dolls ABC? Within seconds you’ll see your little one creating a makeshift school and lining up her stuff dolls as though they were in a classroom.
At times you may also want to engage your toddler in some organized play; this form is called a structured play. It is any play that is planned and happens at a fixed place or is led by an adult. For ex- storytelling, toddler-mom classes etc.
This kind of play too helps in the development of the toddlers senses. And since it’s a guided play and usually then in a group, toddlers can social with one another and learn more together like sharing and improving on their communication as well.
What do when my toddler doesn’t show any interest in Play?
Well if you see that your little one isn’t showing interest in play, you’ll need to determine whether it could be because he/she isn’t well or is tired or bored by that particular game. If yes then it’s normal and nothing to worry about. But sometimes a lack in interest or lack of play can be a sign of developmental disorder, do consider talking to your doctor if you suspect anything unusual in your toddlers play behavior. For ex: not taking part in interactive games like pee-a-boo. Or only turning the wheels of a pull car instead of pulling the car around the house.
We must take advantage of toddler’s atural instinct to move around and motivate them to play and entertain themselves. In this day and age it is so tempting to place your little one in front of the television while you run daily errands at home or finish up on cooking, but try to involve you kid in some constructive play instead.
Even at this early stage good patterns of bring active can be established which will likely help them to grow up to be active adults as well.