Whoever said that learning is all work and no play had it all wrong! Playing with your child is not only fun, it is one of the most important ways you can nurture her development. Through play, your child learns communication, problem-solving, and interpersonal skills that are key to their social, emotional, and physical development.
The best part? You don’t need a fancy toy to play! You have everything you need in the palm of your hands. Your words are powerful. Use them to sing to your baby. Clap your hands to your toddler’s favorite rhyme. And when you feel like you need a prop, reach for a book.
Reading can be playful. Pick a book about a song and sing through it together. Or play with the sounds in the words by dragging out the sound of each letter. Use different voices to bring the book’s characters to life. There are so many ways you can play with what’s inside a book!
And when all else fails, use those board books to build the biggest tower you can. That’s right! Let your toddler turn the page, or your baby chew on the book. What looks to you and me like destruction of property to a child is play, and by learning how to manipulate pages she is building dexterity in her hands. After all, books were not meant to be set on a shelf and admired. They are meant to be used. More importantly – by playing with books, your son will come to love them just as much as any of their other favorite toys. That love of books is so important for developing a lifelong love of reading.