Simple games can be key in your toddler's development

Games such a peek-a-boo enrich your child’s overall development, as well as creating opportunities for you to fully engage with your children.

February 16, 2012 - Author: Angela Harris,

Updated from an original article written by

Play often begins as a simple game of peek-a-boo, so big or pat-a-cake, but these games enrich your child’s overall development and create opportunities for you to fully engage with your children. When you are playing with your child, you are building social-emotional development that includes: 

  • Building trust
  • Establishing relationships
  • Self-confidence
  • Social and emotional self-regulation

It also includes language development such as:

  • Communication skills
  • Vocabulary
  • Story-telling
  • Emergent literacy

Play is also instrumental in cognitive development that includes

  • Problem-solving
  • Social cognition
  • Imagination
  • Motor development (i.e. gross motor, fine motor and self-help skills)

These are just some of the ways that play promotes your child’s development. You'll find more examples in the article, Why Is Play Important? Cognitive Development, Language Development, Literacy Development.

Play is a natural activity for children. However, sometimes for parents, this is not such a natural activity. It can be challenging to act as silly as a 1-year-old, and it can also be difficult to find the time. In making the most out of the play time you have with your child, begin by taking the time to observe your child. Discover what their favorite activities are, taking the time to understand what activities are developmentally appropriate. Next, follow their cues; let your child be the leader.  As a caregiver, it is necessary to take the lead to meet your children’s needs but for play, you need to take a back seat. Finally, to really create meaningful play you must bring enthusiasm, energy and willingness. Through play children are able to make sense of their world and express their thoughts and feelings, and you can nurture flexible and diverse thinking.

For more articles on child development, approaches to learning, parenting and life skill development, please visit the Michigan State University Extension website.

Tags: approaches to learning, caregiving, cognition and general knowledge, early childhood development, family, language and literacy development, msu extension, social and emotional development

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