Learn different stages of play your child passes through different developmental phases
Children grow in a systematic manner with specific faculties developing as they pass through the initial years of their lives. A guided playtime ensures that they have the best support for enhancement of overall personality. It is important to encourage children to explore their capabilities; while still remembering not to expect too much from them since it can lead to feelings of inferiority, disappointment and failure.
Children learn to play in three ways – through exploration, through relation and through symbolism. The stages of development begin with playing alone. Playing in groups develops qualities such as sharing, competitive spirit and acceptance of failure once in a while. Parents should observe the child’s reactions to different playtime situations and correct them whenever necessary.
Here is a guide to make you aware of your child’s age related stages of play; through the different developmental phases of child growth.
12 to 15 months
At this age, you should make your child aware of the ways in which different toys function. It is a unique experience for children and they tend to use the toy in their own way. Give them that freedom. Do not bother if your baby wishes to play alone. It is very normal in this age. Squeezee toys, pull alongs, musical instruments, big blocks and balls are some nice toys for this age group.
16 to 20 months
At this age, children begin to learn by imitation. They observe people, especially other children and try to mingle with them. So, you can play games that involve a lot of imitation and pretend play. Sets like kitchen sets, doctor sets, teaching kits, doll houses and construction kits etc are some exciting toys for kids this age.
21 to 24 months
This is when the child begins to take an initiative in play. You do not have to guide the child anymore. Children get creative with their pretend play and enjoy spinning imaginative stories. Skills such as reasoning, self esteem and self confidence are instilled at this age. So, play competitive games and let the child win most of the times, but not always. It is also important that the child understand failure.
25 to 30 months
By this age, children are involved in playing with other kids. They communicate among themselves although they cannot plan their games. However, they love commentating and instructing their playmates. Encourage outdoor games like hide and seek, cricket, basketball, cycling, racing etc in this age.
31 to 36 months
By the time children are almost three years old, imaginative play and differentiation between reality and fantasy are the focus. Children find it difficult to share and are jealous about their belongings. They are very innocent and naïve at this stage and are not selfish on purpose. It is just a stage of growth. Individual outdoor games and role playing activities are enjoyed by kids during this phase
37 months and later
Children tend to build imaginative castles and cook up imaginative playmates at this age. However, they do understand the difference between reality and fantasy by this time although they cannot draw clear demarcations. Encourage creativity enhancing toys and activities like straw or bead art, craft sets, drawing tools, building blocks, mechanics, clay modeling etc.
Every tiny development in the growing years of a child drowns parents in oodles of delight. Playing can help in deeper bonding between parents and children.