Experts have come up with three general rules for playing with children:
- Make certain the play area is safe
- Watch them and wait for their actions
- Follow their lead
If you watch your children carefully while they are playing, they can tell you with their body language what they want you to do.
There are some specific roles to play with children of different ages:
Birth to 12 months :
- Children need to be engaged by all their senses when they are playing.
- They need to hear the sounds of words
- When you respond to your children, they learn to communicate
- Improve their self-worth by showing parental engagement when playing with them
- They can learn cause-effect process by shaking the toys that make sounds
- In general, they need to hear sounds, see objects, as well as touch and feel them and in some cases
- Back and Forth, Peek-a-Boo, Sing and Dance, and Play with Ball are four simple games that you can play with your children that are beneficial for their development.
12 months to 24 months:
- Children will learn colors, numbers, and shapes
- Children still need to develop communication skills and learn more complicated words
- Watch what you say and do, children will try to copy
- This is the beginning stage of problem solving; children learn it when they try to fit shapes into spaces
- Children will enjoy reading
- They will experience group play, and learn to take turns and listen; they will enjoy running, climbing and action games. Through repetition, they learn to master certain skills, which gives them a sense of security and control over their world. Dancing helps children enjoy movement and exercise. Keep their hands busy by asking them to push buttons, and allow them to turn pages while reading.
24 months to 36 months :
- Children develop their own creativity
- Playing with other children will help them improve their language skills
- Learning to share and take turns will develop from working and playing together
- They will further develop problem solving skills
- Playing with others, family and friends for example, is important for children of this age. Music is beneficial for children to learn words and follow directions. They also need to learn to play quiet; read a book, play with blocks or painting are all good examples.
Through this link you can find more information about the role of playing in child’s life.