Through play, children can develop important life skills that help prepare them for experiences later in life. There are two types of play: structured and unstructured. Watch to learn more about the benefits of each type of play, and how much playtime your toddler should be getting in each day.

To learn more about play, visit our Play page!

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This video is a part of our Parents’ Guide series. View the entire series for quick videos, packed full of development info and tips.

Read along with the video below!

These both look like baby is just playing, right? She’s actually playing in 2 different ways.

There are 2 types of play:

  1. Structured play: A child follows directions or rules. Examples: board games, puzzles, team sports, etc.
  2. Unstructured play: A child can do what interests them. Examples: Playing on a playground, dressing up, exploring the outdoors, etc.

Most toys can be structured or unstructured depending on how you use them!

Structured: An adult is giving direction

Unstructured: Playing with no direction

The key is to find a balance between the types of play. Toddlers should spend at least 1 hour a day in free, unstructured play, and at least 30 minutes engaged in adult-led, structured play.

2 types of play means more opportunities for learning!

Skills developed through play:

  • Creativity
  • Imagination
  • Problem solving
  • Building confidence
  • Processing emotions
  • Interacting with others
  • Flexibility and adaptability
  • Understanding social situations
  • And more…