Posted ByTiffany Smith
Imaginative, creative and outdoor play for toddlers.
Playing with blocks and dolls might not be your idea of a good time, but if you're caring for a toddler, you're going to have to learn to enjoy the simple things.
Play is vitally important to a child's development. It is through play that he will learn basic motor skills, abstract thinking, social skills, language, math, good and bad, right and wrong.
If you don't remember how the smaller set has a blast, here are some reminders.
- Make Believe. Your little charges have active imaginations. Piles of dirt are cities and towns; rocks are their residents. Name a gang of stuffed animals, and ask a child to tell you a story about them.
- Music. Play with your own instruments, which can be pots and pans with a wooden spoon, or listen to CDs. You don't have to play kid-centric tunes, which can drive even the most patient soul batty. Opt for grownup musicians (who use kid-appropriate language!) children can sing along with: The Monkees, The Beach Boys, or Sheryl Crow, for instance.
- Books. The classics, such as Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein, still keep 'em captivated -- and giggling.
- Puzzles. Young children can put a shape in the proper hole. As they get older, try basic picture puzzles.
- Playgrounds. Many city-sponsored play areas have special sections for small children. Squat in the sandbox, bounce on a squishy surface, or take a ride down a slide.
Children need physical activity. Stroll around the yard and collect leaves, walk to the park for a picnic, or just run around. Check newspapers and the Internet for upcoming community events, such as fairs or story groups, or visit a museum or art gallery.
The bottom line
It's your job to keep a child mentally and physically stimulated. Plan a variety of activities, and never leave them languishing in front of the TV.
The National Association for Sport and Physical Education states that toddlers should spend at least 30 minutes a day participating in physical activities.