How To Help Your Toddler To Have Effective Play Time

types of play, exploratory play, wannabees family play townAs many of us know, play is one of the most important things your child can do in a day. We might think that children just Want to play, they actually Need to play.

Play is an important feature in a child’s everyday life. It’s how they learn about the world around them and develop vital skills such as fine and gross motor movement, socialisation, language, literacy, and numeracy.

So next time your child is pestering for you to play with them, consider the benefit you’ll be doing them in the long run!

But how do you know if your child’s play is beneficial? and, at what age should they be able to start playing independently?

The answer to both questions is complex. First, let’s talk about how beneficial certain kinds of play are.

You can also read our blog post “6 most important types of play to your child’s development”

Benefits Of Play

baby in computerThink your child’s growing video game addiction is worrying? Think again.

Video games have been shown to increase spatial awareness, improve mathematics skills, improve empathy, and even make kids less violent!

But does this mean little Jimmy can stay parked in front of the console 24/7? Probably not.

Excessive video game use is also linked to poor physical health outcomes. Everything in moderation is better.

What is the best kind of play for my Toddler?

imaginative play - language skills - pretend playFor younger children in the 18-36 month age group, the best kind of play is imaginative.

It’s where they can use their minds to create alternate and pleasing scenarios and engage with them.

Imaginative play isn’t exclusively in children’s minds. Giving kids the right resources to perform imaginatively is important. You’ll be surprised how quickly a plastic bottle becomes a submarine, or a soft toy an alien beast. The limit really is the kid’s imagination.

How to inspire imaginative play in kids aged 18-36 months?

Give your kids the right tools

Toddler playing with wooden trainWhile you’ll be surprised how many stories kids can make up off their own imagination, it’s always best to invest in some imaginative toys.

The best toys for this age group are wooden blocks and mirror blocks. They have so many different combinations!

Also worth a mention are toy animals, marble runs, dress-ups, and pretend kitchens. All these toys have a seemingly endless shelf life when it comes to playability and imaginative scenarios.

Read stories to your Toddler

Dad reading storiesStories and picture books are an amazing source of imaginative inspiration. The fantastical characters, the intricate plots, and the detailed images all contribute to the building of imagination – not to mention literacy skills. Picture books let children experience how far imagination can really take you.

Give your child time to play

effective play time - time to playKids can often get caught up in their parents’ busy lives. That means they sometimes don’t find time to play. Give them time to unwind and do some play.

Sometimes it’s all too easy to park them in front of the TV while dinner is prepared. Instead turn off the TV and give them some time to exercise their imagination instead!

Play with others

Pretend Play - socializePart of play is socialisation. When two kids get together with imaginative tools, the possibilities are endless.

All of a sudden they’re acting and moving about while role-playing. They learn to communicate, create rules, act fairly, and empathise with others’ emotions.

Make the play relevant to their lives and their future

Incorporate numeracy skills using blocks and shapes which are vital in creating spatial awareness. Give them picture books to touch and experiment with.

You’d be surprised how much of a challenge it is to get kids to read a book the right way up! It’s all super important for their literacy skills.

You can also red our blog post “8 Reasons Why You Should Encourage Imaginative Play in Kids” for more ideas.

So now we know what to do to help your 18-36 month old play imaginatively.  But is there something you can do to make it better?

How to enhance the experience

Wannabees Family Play Town on Sydney’s Northern Beaches is the perfect location for your child’s intellectual development through play and imagination.

All the tools that were mentioned to make a fantastic play environment are included at Wannabees.

“Wannabees Family Play Town is the perfect location for your child’s intellectual development through play and imagination.”

Wannabees is a miniature city built for kids. Full of costumes, real and pretend items, and rooms themed based on different jobs in our society.

There’s a firefighting station with real hose and water, a police station with pretend gaol, a supermarket with real items, and hospital with nursery.

We also run the activities to help get the most of your experience.

We have two kinds of role-play and imaginative activities.

Wannabees Tour

soft play centres | Indoor Play | Wannabees Fire StationThe Wannabees tour is a comprehensive tour of all of Wannabees. There’s always other kids doing this one, so it’s a great way to socialise and make friends.

It’s organised by our experienced staff, so you know the kids’ imaginative play skills are always being tested and extended. The Wannabees tour is play-based and not very intense.

It’s a lot of fun and focuses more on having fun through role-play and imagination.

Learning Bee activities

Learning Bees is role-play with a focus on literacy and numeracy skills. These activities are more structured than the Wannabees tour, and are especially great if your child is attending school in the next few years as the activities are similar to the ones they do in class. It is available Monday to Friday during morning time only.

skills while role-playing with other kids at Wannabees. Not only are they playing imaginatively, they are also building vital skills and making new friends!

The best thing is that all this is included in your admission ticket. All you need to do is let our floor staff know that you want the Learning Bees experience and we will organise it for you (providing there is enough number of kids available)

Your Turn

What sort of games and activities do you facilitate to your child? Have you been to one of our Learning Bees sessions and wanna share the experience with others?

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