There are limitless benefits to creative free play for children—starting from the very first days of life. By encouraging your child’s independence and creativity, you are helping them learn how to confidently solve problems, use their imaginations and develop their intellect. (Not to mention, you should have a chance to sit down and catch your breath.)
Here’s how to get started and foster imaginative play in your child.
Your newborn’s creative free play will look less like “play” and more like “observing,” but don’t underestimate the value in that! By studying this big, new world around them, they are getting ready to be active participants. Through supervised tummy time and awake time with a play gym, they are encouraged to focus on tasks and visuals.
Now that your baby’s attention span is growing, give them something worth focusing on—a view of their beautiful face! While practicing some supervised tummy time, prop a mirror in front of them for studying and interacting. As they reach out and grab for things, also offer a variety of shapes, textures and noise-making options to keep their interest and captivate their curious mind.
A baby on the move means a busier parent! During this time, your baby is really catching on to the concept of cause-and-effect, so anything that will give them gratification—like a silly picture concealed behind a flap or toys that play music when they press buttons—are sure to be favorites.
As they get closer to the year mark, babies tend to love tasks, such as putting balls into a basket or stacking cups together. At this point, neither of you should really be worried about the “right” or “wrong” way to do this—just let them feel proud of what they accomplished!
Hang on tight, moms and dad! Your not-so-little baby is probably toddling around and definitely getting into everything by this point. Give them a safe space to play and explore with bigger tasks, such fine-motor skill practices, sorting different shapes or colors and doing some simple problem-solving with puzzles. Because your toddler craves choices and independence, creative free play is truly a prized time for them—even if you have to give them some encouragement when they come to you for help.
Kids2 provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.