Engaging in play is great fun for all babies and children however play is also an important part of the development of a child’s brain and it creates numerous opportunities for babies and children to learn.
As children grow they develop their play skills and change the way that they play. From birth to six months of age babies enjoy soft rattles, familiar sounds and faces, cuddles, play mats and mobiles. It is all about exploring and sensory types of play as they develop attachment and bonding.
From six to twelve months this sensory play evolves into functional play and babies start to use toys according to their intended purpose. Familiar objects such as cups, spoons, combs and containers are all great toys for babies at this age.
Young children then start to engage in simple pretend play between the ages of twelve and eighteen months. This pretend play is usually directed towards themselves, such as pretend eating or pretend sleeping. They also enjoy playing with cars, dolls, soft toys and cups and they enjoy using real furniture within their play such as chairs and beds. At this age children begin interacting with their peers.
Between eighteen months and two years, children are able to link play steps together to form a sequence. This might include cuddling teddy- wrapping teddy in a blanket- putting teddy to bed. At this age, children pretend to make inanimate objects perform actions like dancing or eating. As their motor skills improve, they also love active play. Children in this age group enjoy dolls, sandpits, trucks, blocks, boxes and instruments.
Here are some fun play ideas you can use with your baby:
- Blowing raspberries
- Singing songs and nursery rhymes
- Making music using household objects such as pots and pans
- Reading books
- Active play such as tummy time, crawling, jumping and climbing
- Drawing and colouring