You asked

How does play help my child develop?

Play is vital to a child’s development; socially, emotionally, and physically. Playing is the way that a child learns about the world around her and learns about herself as well.

When your child is a toddler, you will begin to see her imagination grow through play. She will also be building strong qualities and skills, like creativity, problem-solving, curiosity, and independence.

As a parent, it is very important to play with your child. Your child will enjoy the interaction and it gives you an opportunity to teach her through talking and activities.

There are several categories of play:

•    Social play involves interaction with others. From watching the mobile in her crib, to playing a game as a four year old, social play is present at all ages.
•    Object play is the best for 4 months to 10 months of age. This age loves to bang on things, touch different textures, and put things in their mouths.
•    Representational play is when your 18 month old uses her shoe to make a phone call. This type of play is seen more at 12 months to 21 months of age.
•    Symbolic play happens around 24 months of age. This is where your child will use an object as if it were a different object. For example, a box will become a dump truck. 
•    Role playing usually starts around 30 months old and will continue for years. Your child may imitate Mum, her doctor, or even the family pet.

Treat playtime as if it were a part of your child’s education and understand that every aspect of play is a learning experience for your child.

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