Play matters. It’s how children learn about themselves and the world around them. Giving a child the opportunity, time, and space to play allows them to explore different interests and passions. Through play, children can develop important life skills that can help prepare them for experiences later in life.
Play Changes as Your Child Grows
When people think of play they often think of toddlers or young child, but you can start playing as soon as your baby is born. Play changes as your child develops and over time children should become more comfortable playing with others.
Stages of Play
- Unoccupied Play (Birth-3 Months):
When a baby is making a lot of movements with their arms, legs, hands, feet, etc. They are learning about and discovering how their body moves.
- Solitary Play (Birth-2 Years):
When a child plays alone and are not interested in playing with others quite yet.
- Spectator/Onlooker Behavior (2 Years):
When a child watches and observes other children playing but will not play with them.
- Parallel Play (2+ Years):
When a child plays alongside or near to others but does not play with them.
- Associate Play (3-4 Years):
When a child starts to interact with others during play, but there is not a large amount of cooperation required, e.g. kids playing on the playground but doing different things like climbing, swinging, etc.
- Cooperative Play (4+ years):
When a child plays with others and has interest in both the activity and other children involved in playing.
Read more about the different stages of play.