Learning through imaginative play

Are you looking for ways to help your toddler learn while still having fun?  Here are some great tips to help them get the best out of play.

To Promote Imaginative Play

  1. Provide a collection of dress-up props for role-play.
  2. Look at the clouds and take turns imagining what they resemble.
  3. Plant seeds for imaginative thinking by reading lots of books together.
  4. Provide toys that encourage creativity and imagination.
  5. Make up stories with your child, building on each other¡|s additions.
  6. Arrange play dates with others to foster social and imaginative play.
  7. Listen to music with your child and act out how it sounds (sleepy, happy).
  8. Take turns "being" things that begin with each letter of the alphabet.
  9. Sometimes be your child's play partner, sometimes just observe.
  10. Use your own imagination and awaken your own inner child.

Why Play Is So Important

  1. Play helps children learn about themselves and their understandings of their expanding physical and social worlds.
  2. Play gives children opportunities to figure out how things work, how to get along with others and to try on new roles.
  3. Play stimulates and enhances creativity and imagination.
  4. Play provides a rich resource for language development and social competence.
  5. Play encourages thinking and problem-solving skills.
  6. Play develops perceptual-motor skills (fine and gross, such as eye-hand coordination and balance) and helps develop strength and coordination.
  7. Play is the integration of language, social, cognitive, imaginative and physical skills.
  8. Play fosters self-esteem, self-direction and values.
  9. Play helps children learn and practice social skills such as sharing, negotiation and cooperation.
  10. Play develops curiosity and increases attention span.


To Get The Most Out Of Play

  1. Take advantage of the opportunity to play and have fun with your child -- this is a golden opportunity you won't want to miss.
  2. Observe your child at play -- observation provides hints to the next stage of development.
  3. Follow your child¡|s cues -- be creative and resourceful when playing with your child.
  4. Allow enough time for play -- children need large blocks of time to play; they learn best in an environment which allows them time to explore, discover and play.
  5. Supervision is essential -- provide safe, hazard-free play environments both indoors and outdoors.
  6. Choose toys that suit the area where your child will be playing -- anticipate how your child will use the toy.
  7. Choose toys that match your child¡|s present stage of development -- consider what the toy can teach your child.
  8. Toys get used and abused -- regularly conduct a toy maintenance check for toy safety and durability.
  9. Choose various types of toys that will provide enjoyment and hold your child's attention -- for active and quiet times; for playing alone or with others.
  10. Pay attention to the age ranges specified on the toys -- they are set for safety and developmental reasons.


What To Look For In Technologically-Enhanced Toys

A good technologically-enhanced toy:
  1. Is age-appropriate, safe and durable
  2. Is fun to use and interesting to the child
  3. Stimulates creativity, imagination and thinking skills
  4. Encourages inquisitiveness and resourcefulness
  5. Is a tool for learning and presents curriculum in a fun way
  6. Is challenging, yet not frustrating
  7. Invites repeated use
  8. Involves child interaction and lets the child be in control
  9. Addresses developing needs and emerging skills
  10. Scaffolds the progression of play