Giving your child different things to play or creating more opportunities for them to play does'nt need to be difficult or expensive. Sharing books,songs and nursery rhymes with your child is fun, and will help them develop language and communication skills. You can also use lots of things you have around the house. Listed here are some ideas. Don't forget to get involved yourself- your child will learn more from you than they will from any toy.
|illustration of kids playing dress up.|
|child enjoying water play.|
- RATTLES [from four months]. Wash out a plastic screw top bottle and put dried beans or lentil inside. Shake it around in front of the child and it helps them to learn how to make a sound/noise with it. As dried beans are poisonous and small objects can be dangerous for young children due to suffocation. It's best to glue the top of the bottle very well so it will not come off.
- PLAY DOUGH [from 18months]. You can make your own play dough. Put one cup of plain flour, two tablespoons of cream of tartar, half cup of salt, one tablespoon of cooking oil and some food colouring or powder paint in a pan. Stir over a medium heat until it forms a dough. Once the dough has cooled down, you can show your child how to make different shapes. If you keep it in a plastic box in the fridge, you can use it again.
- PRETEND COOKING [from 18 months]. You can use bowl and spoons and measure real ingredients like flour ,sugar. You and your child can mix it up in a bowls and use spoons to stir and you can narrate what you are doing. So they are putting words to what they are doing.
- TELEVISION. Watch television with your child and make sure you know and authorise what they are watching. Some parents prefer to limit their children's television viewing. TV can entertain as well as educate your child.
- PLAYING WITH WATER(any age) : Babies , toddlers and young children love water play, in the bath or paddling pool or just using the sink or plastic bowl. Use plastic bottles for pouring and squirting at each other, plastic tubing, a sponge, colander, straws, a funnel, spoons and anything unbreakable will do. You will both get wet, it's best either cover your clothes or wear loose fitting clothes. Remember , never leave a young child alone with water. A toddler can drown in less than 5cm (2 inches) of water.
- DRESSING UP [from 18 months]. Collect old clothes,hats,scarves,bags. Make sure there are no loose strings to wrap around the child's neck or trip them [or you]. Paper plates can be used to make masks. Kids love dress up, they find it really fun.
- READING. You can start reading and looking at books with your baby from an early age. You don't have to read the words, just talk about what you can see. Even very young babies like looking at picture books. Local libraries usually have a good range of children's books. Looking at books with your child, even if it's just for 10 minutes a day, will help them build important skills and encourage their interest in reading. Look out for learning and playing 3.
|toddler moulding with play dough.|