For parents, having some guidelines as to how their kids’ play advance can help lower stress, as well as give them an inclination of which age-appropriate activities and toys apply to their kids according to their age.
- Unoccupied Play
This is the most basic form of play where your child is entirely free to move, think, and imagine. This is usually the case with a baby that is placed on a playmat or given a book and rattle and let him play without guiding him. Even an insignificant object can spark his interest if he hasn’t seen anything like it before.
These are usually toys or objects that are colorful with different textures. Avoid anything with unusual noises or bright lights.
- Solitary/Independent Play
This is when a child is left to play with no reference to what other adults or kids in the room are doing. It can be a quiet or active type of play, depending on the child’s temperament. This is an incredibly essential stage since kids must learn to feel comfortable by themselves before bonding with others. Nature usually comes in handy here.
Kids love to explore and pick up sticks, pebbles, or other objects that pique their interest while others would quietly sit and browse through a book. Good examples of toys that you can find at Mr Toys for this type of play include train sets, imaginative toys, play kitchens, or toddler-safe books.
- Onlooker Play
This is when the child is watching other kids play without playing themselves. This is the first step for them to learn how to play with others and to get along with other kids.
- Showing baby what you are doing, i.e., playing an instrument, puzzles, or gardening.
- Taking the baby to the local park to watch other kids play.
- Parallel Play
Even though they might play with the exact toys, your child may prefer playing beside as opposed to other children. Learning how to play is usually learning through relating to others. Parallel is the concluding stage before your kid starts connecting with another child. Toys that can be shared is perfect since this is generally the stage where toddlers refer to everything as “mine.”
During this stage, your child starts to connect with others outside of the family circle. Recommended activities or toys are sorting and stacking blocks, sticker books, or low climbers made from soft materials.
- Associative Play
Where a child plays with others, but the children don’t necessarily organize their play towards a communal goal. Around three years, a pre-schooler will have a longer attention span and will start enjoying social activities with other kids more. Taking turns is an achievable goal; therefore, it is the perfect time for incorporating more art supplies into your kid’s playroom, especially the mess-proof types. Toys like erector sets and Legos are perfect for associated play.
- Cooperative Play
During this stage, teamwork starts to be at the order of the day. Children are playing with others with a communal purpose. This is generally the final development stage because it works on the same concept of doing a school project, playing a sport, or participating in a play. Socializing, interacting, and communicating paves the path to social success throughout a child’s life.