Vanessa Slots, MD, pediatrician, Renown Medical Group
Raising a toddler can be challenging! How do you keep someone engaged that is always on the go? The answer is play. Both adult-led play and supervised, free play are the best ways to not only keep your toddler engaged but also support their development.
Play has been shown to contribute to toddler’s cognitive, physical, social and emotional well-being. Through play, toddlers learn to be creative, problem solve and develop motor and reasoning skills at early ages. Free play also allows toddlers learn to entertain themselves.
- Try to match your toddler’s interest with the activities for the day. If your toddler is interested in cars, play with toy cars and then read a book about cars.
- Schedule fieldtrips around your toddler’s interests. If they like baseball, head to an afternoon Aces game. If they are interested in wild animals, plan to enjoy a day at the Animal Ark.
- When you need a few minutes away from play, set your toddler up in a place where they can easily be supervised. Provide them with an environment that they can safely explore as well as safe toys like stackable blocks, books, pots, plastic plates and crayons.
- Utilize your neighborhood. The local library may have story hour, join a play group that meets nearby, or just head to your local playground.
Remember, if you are having fun so is your toddler!