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Play Helps Children Grow and Develop

13 Ways to Play with Your Infant/Toddler

Playing with your child is essential in helping young children grow and develop. Due to the many demands of parenting, work, and other responsibilities this can often be a challenge.

Children at a young age are often exposed to television or computer games for learning activities. However, it is through relationships and play that we build brain connections with our infants and toddlers.

Below is a list of ways to play with your infant/toddler that involve eye contact, touch, and positive emotions. By engaging in these activities with your baby each day, you will help them build secure attachments that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.
• Reading
• Peek-a-boo
• Patty cake
• Sing songs, expressive emotions – touch
• Baby dolls (rocking them together, feeding)
• Dance holding your baby
• Roll a ball
• Make pudding
• Bang on pans
• Massage with lotion
• Talking to them or narrating their actions (exposing children to language)
• Mirroring their actions (they roll the truck, you roll the truck)
• “I Love You” Rituals – Becky Bailey (YouTube provides great examples)

By Cindie Silmon, LCMFT, RPT – Mental Health Specialist

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