Play a different way, every day

Playtime helps kids grow a broad range of skills and understand the world around them. Different types of play allow kids to learn in new ways.

Encouraging dramatic and make-believe play

Dramatic play gives kids a chance to imagine, create and experience a sense of wonder as they take on the roles of other people. They might play ‘families’ or ‘shops’, mimicking what they see in their environment or go on make-believe adventures.

To get the ball rolling, ask your child what they want to play, and help them to explore those roles. You could ask what clothes they think a doctor would wear, or how can they make a grocery store using the toys they have.

Explore the dramatic

When playing make believe, kids will often mimic things from their own experiences. To suggest ideas for a game, try using experiences you know your child will understand, like a recent birthday party or pretending to have the job of someone in the family.

Experience fantasy

Help your child to create props they might like to use as they engage in fantasy adventures. You can use objects around the house or build props from old boxes or containers.

Exploring and manipulating objects

As kids play, they explore how things feel and work. Using a magnifying glass to get a closer view, experimenting with different materials like cardboard or playdough, or manipulating objects like beads or puzzles can help your child explore new ideas.

Be physical

Physical play allows kids to explore movements and different ways to combine movements. Playing ball, jumping, climbing, dancing or moving around an obstacle course is a fun way to get your child active and develop physical skills.

Games with rules

Incorporating rules in a game can create challenges and encourage problem solving. These might be a board game or outdoor sporting activity. 

Check out some ideas for getting different kinds of play started here.

Image children use their imaginations, pretending to be aeroplanes while playing together outdoors

Published — 04 September 2016 Last updated — 26 October 2018

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