2-3 Years

Play tips 2-3 years

Your child is learning all the time. Play stimulates his brain and helps him start making sense of the world. Play also helps your child build confidence, feel loved and develop communication, social and physical skills.

Here are some fun play ideas for you and your child at this age:

  • Meet others for a playdate in the park. Social play is a great way for your child to make first friends. But don’t expect sharing and taking turns just yet – children believe they’re the centre of the world and that everything belongs to them.
  • Try rough-and-tumble play. Your child might like this kind of physical play, because it helps her understand her own strength and work out social relationships.
  • Keep a ‘busy box’ of useful things to encourage creative play. Things like coloured paper, empty food boxes, plastic cups, ribbons – anything that’s safe – will get your child’s imagination going.
  • Read books, sing songs or tell stories together. These activities build your child’s talking and listening skills, as well as sparking his imagination and helping his memory.
  • Cook with your child. Give her simple things to do, like tossing a salad or putting together sandwiches or tacos. It’ll help her learn about counting and measuring, doing things step by step and being patient.

Things to remember

  1. This is an important period of emotional development for your child. He’s going through lots of feelings himself, while also learning about other people’s feelings.
  2. Temper tantrums are normal, because children often don’t have the words to express frustration, anger, embarrassment and other ‘big’ emotions – for example, guilt and shame.
  3. Help your child learn to express and manage her feelings by naming these emotions and linking them to what’s happening around her. For example, if your child is sad about a broken toy, you might say, ‘I can see you’re sad that your toy is broken’.
  4. Your support helps your child’s development a lot. Supporting and encouraging your child’s efforts builds confidence and encourages him to keep trying.
  5. Creative play is very important for child’s development. You can encourage your child by making lots of time for free-flowing creative activities.