Time to Play!
Play is such an important part of your child’s development. Here are some ideas of developmental games you can play with your child.
6 months – 12 months:
- Playing with blocks helps your toddler use his problem-solving skills, and he even learns about things such as gravity. Block activities can be simple, such as giving your child blocks to make a building or asking him to stack the blocks as high as he can.
- Playing with bubbles is a great way to develop eye-tracking skills as well as learning to use the two hands together.
- Spending time playing games on his tummy is excellent for strengthening the toddler’s back and neck muscles.
- If crawling, scooting, or walking, your toddler will enjoy an obstacle course where he can move over things like pillows, phone books or laundry.
- Peek-a-boo! Use different variations, hide behind a towel, hide behind a door or behind a chair. Surprise him by popping your head out and saying peek-a-boo.
- Unwrapping packages are great fun for toddlers who enjoy the surprise of finding a hidden item. Wrap small toys in washcloths or loosely in newspaper so that they can be unwrapped.
- Edible finger paints are a great way to start exploring with “painting” as well as with colour, texture and taste. The following can be used to make different colours: Carrot (for orange “paint”); Strawberries (for red “paint”) and Broccoli (for green “paint”). (With the carrot and broccoli – cut and put in a steamer or saucepan and cook as you would normally until super soft more so than if making puree’s normally. Put into the blender and blend until very smooth. With the strawberries put in blender with a little water once you have topped them and blend until smooth.)
12 months – 18 months:
- Thread “O”shaped cereal onto a piece of string. This will help with fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination.
- Play with cooked spaghetti. Food colouring can be added to make different colours. Make pictures with the spaghetti or hide small toys in the spaghetti like a treasure hunt.
- Make a game of putting pipe cleaners through the holes in the top of a spice jar or through the holes of a colander.
- Ball games are excellent at this age. Start with rolling the ball to your child and encouraging him to push it back to you.
- Suspend a balloon that can be caught or hit. This also assists with developing good eye-muscle movements.
- Play lots of imitation games where the little one can imitate you talking on the phone, making food, dancing or building block structures.
- Go to the park and play on see-saws, swings and slides.
- Spend some time each day reading stories to your child to develop their interest in reading. Choose books with colourful pictures!
- Start to experiment with scribbling – use thick crayons and large sheets of paper. Include finger paints and use stamps. Get creative!
Written by Tamaryn Hunter BSc (Occupational Therapy) – Occupational Therapist