Play, Play, Play All day!

It is so so important to play with your child and provide them with rich opportunities to play. Children learn and explore the world around them through play. There are many types of play, and all foster the acquisition of different developmental skills. Teaching various types of play skills is an important way to facilitate early language development.

    Here are 13 different types of play that you can engage in with your child. You may also learn to observe some of the different types of play that your child is already doing.

  1. Parallel Play: playing alongside the child but not actually interacting with each other.
  2. Symbolic Play: the use imagination to pretend an object is something else for the purposes of enhancing play. For instance, a banana used as a telephone, a stick used as a sword etc.
  3. Large (gross) Motor Play: big whole body movements to develop balance, coordination and an awareness of one’s body. Jumping on a trampoline, running, climbing, and most playground activities are examples of large motor play.
  4. Small (fine) Motor Play: activities that require attention to small details and incorporate the use of fingers and hands. Small motor play improves manual dexterity. Examples of fine motor play include coloring, finger painting, cutting, picking up small objects etc.
  5. Mastery Play: repetitive play. Doing the same activity over and over and over until the child has mastered it! You might get bored, but if your child is still enjoying it, keep going!
  6. Sensory Play: playing with a variety of textures and mediums including sand, water, paint, etc.
  7. Artistic Play: drawing, painting, puppets, sculpting, modeling, using clay or play dough, playing musical instruments etc. This is a great way for children to express their feelings and ideas and explore their artistic side.
  8. Construction Play: building with blocks, Legos, Lincoln logs etc., or building forts, houses or any other type of structure. It requires both skill and imagination.
  9. Language and Word Play: songs, nursery rhymes, books, pretend words and gibberish, story telling, script reading, performing plays, talking with accents, speaking in foreign languages
  10. Rough Housing Play: * avoid injury! Teaches limits and awareness of one’s strength. Children may need guidance to prevent overly aggressive play.
  11. Risk-Taking Play: extend skills to take on new and difficult challenges through reasonable risk taking. It is important to help children master skills and learn limits. Most children have the self-awareness and ability to push the limits without hurting themselves.
  12. Pretend Play: make-believe imaginative play. Incorporates rich language, problem solving and vivid imagination. For example, “Let’s pretend…we’re in a castle, we’re cowboys etc. Incorporates the child’s knowledge and experiences.
  13. Rule-Based Play: Involves games and group interaction and collaboration. Children create their own rules and negotiate with peers. Tends to occur later, in the kindergarten and school-age years.Reference:

    Schneider, Catherine. (2014). Play Matters.

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