Have you ever sat and watched a puppy? A puppy will run and roll around willy-nilly, sniff whatever it can, paw or lick anything that comes close. The puppy is playing, but it’s also learning about its environment.
Toddlers are sort of like puppies in that way. Play is a much more important learning tool than flashcards, “get smart” videos, computer games, and the like. Through play, toddlers learn about shapes, colors, the spaces around them, relationships with siblings and peers.
They practice interactive skills with their stuffed dolls and animals. They learn new words (up, down, swing, mine), learn to exercise their imaginations, and get a chance to work out feelings they can’t yet verbalize. They learn about fear, for instance, when climbing on a playground structure, or they learn about excitement the when they go down a slide.
Play is a toddler’s job, and the more yours can do it, the better.
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