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Toddler Playing Drums


Play is essential for children to learn and develop socially, physically, and behaviorally. It builds their self-worth and gives a child an understanding of their own abilities. In the words of Fred Rogers, “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. At various times, play is a way to cope with life and to prepare for adulthood. Playing is a way to solve problems and to express feelings. In fact, play is the real work of childhood.” With the understanding that play is so powerful and important in children’s lives, it is important to understand the stages of play and how play evolves from birth to the later years.

Parents are their children’s first and best playmates and therefore have a role in being actively involved in their children’s play. Children are more creative when their parents are involved in their play and the best play occurs when the adult plays alongside the child, rather than just providing the toys or supervising. Becoming part of your child’s play may take practice, but it is beneficial for everyone involved!

Below are some ideas for ways you can play with your baby! Be sure to let your child lead the way by either participating in an activity your toddler is already doing or following your baby’s attention to a new thing. Your baby may not always want to play with you and that’s ok – in those moments play alongside your child and enjoy the time together.

  • Baby’s Reflection: Hold your baby in front of the mirror and talk about and point to their different body parts – eyes, nose, mouth, arms, feet, etc. Also, you can try stepping out of the mirror and ask, “Where did baby go?” and when returning in front of the mirror say, “There’s the baby!” These games help build your baby’s thinking skills, and when your baby reaches out to the mirror to touch his face, he’s not only using his motor skills but learning about reflections.

  • Textural Fun: Gather several pieces of materials with a variety of textures – a towel, a piece of cardboard, a silky scarf, a soft blanket, etc. – and lay them across the floor. Then allow your baby to crawl or hold your baby upright and let them feel the different textures beneath their hands and feet. This will help build body awareness and be a fun opportunity for your baby to explore.

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  • Center for Disease Control - Utilizing this site, you can find information to promote a healthy pregnancy through pregnancy preparation, ways to stay healthy during pregnancy, and how to prepare for life after birth.

  • American Pregnancy - From seeing your pregnancy week by week, to addressing your concerns and preparing for birth, this site provides you with tips and advice on all thing pregnancy!

  • Fit Pregnancy - These quick 10 dos and don’ts of prenatal nutrition will give you a jump start to your healthy pregnancy habits!

  • Beyond Blue - Learn more about emotional health and well-being and gain tips to managing stress and taking care of yourself during pregnancy and in early parenthood.



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