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Tips for Teaching Play and Having Fun with Children

As our children get older, their needs and demands also increase. A one-year-old child, for example, may enjoy a rattle but will not enjoy it as much as a baby. That’s why we have to find some tips on the various ways we can have fun play with your children, depending on their age.

The principle of play with children

During the first eighteen months, the child relates to the world through its senses. It only acts. There is only the here and now. His first game is to try to repeat his body movements (putting his hand in his mouth, for example). His next game is to reproduce reactions in objects outside him (moving a rattle, etc.). Little by little, he will vary these movements in what is real experimentation. Later, he will link the movements of the different senses, which will enable him to solve new “problems”.

In this period, there is an essential toy: the person who is with him, who takes care of him, who talks to him, sings to him, caresses him and plays with him. Who gives him 20 times the dummy that the baby has thrown away. The relationship with this person is an important necessity for the good development of the baby. The dummy and the rattle are the next best toys, all things that can be suck, moved and rattled. In short, babies want toys that respond to their actions.

From crawling to tricycle
Around one year, the child starts to move, crawl, standing, walking, running, jumping. Each of these stages is necessary. To run, he needs to have walked, and to walk, and he needs to crawl. Being secure in his body will help him to be secure in everything else. His body is a privileged toy for learning to think (how should I put my legs to swing on my own?). Any place that encourages safe movement is a good place to play: the countryside, your neighbourhood park, safe stairs. The first toy will undoubtedly be a crawling mat and then toys to push while walking: ride-on, balls, tricycles, skates, bicycles, etc.

Playing to represent

During the second year of life, the child acquires a new capacity of transcendental importance for his development: the capacity to represent, which allows him to get out of the here and now. He can now say what he has done or what he will do, imitate something he has seen that is not present, draw it and, especially important because of the amount of time he spends on it, “play at doing what”. In this play, he develops a fundamental human intellectual capacity: the ability to give an object a meaning different from his own based on ever-decreasing similarities.

Moreover, this type of play will introduce them to society; through it, they will discover realities, some of them very distant (the hospital, the jungle) and the importance of being free of sexist stereotypes or antisocial values.

The best toys are his friends. With them and little else, he will invent his best adventures and train in cooperation and negotiation skills. Anything can be turned into anything else, but some toys should not be missing. A telephone, things to cook, fabrics to dress up, dolls and stuffed animals, toys for crafts, among many others.

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