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Types of Play

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Play is the work of childhood. It's the laboratory in which children figure out how the world works, who they are, who they might be, and what they can and cannot do.

But not all play is the same, either in its style or its effect. If you closely watch some of the different types of play your child engages in, you'll see how she is taking on the world.

Symbolic Play

To an infant or a young toddler, a block is a block. If she has more than one, she might stack them or pull them apart. But once she's about 2 years old, she can start using blocks for much more. In her eyes they can become a house, a car, or anything else she wants.

Toys become symbols for other objects. Your child may try to feed her doll as if it were another baby. If you look carefully, you may see that she sometimes holds her doll or teddy bear the same way you hold her.

This type of symbolic representation shows you how sophisticated her brain is becoming. It also allows her to prepare for or work through potentially frightening events. For example, a savvy pediatrician who needs to check your child's ears for infection may begin by looking in the ears of the doll she brought with her to the exam. That allows the toddler to anticipate what will happen to her and helps remove her anxieties.

 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
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how to play
I love the ways that this article gives ideas and allows you insight into how your child explores an..

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When we watch preschoolers play, we can pick up clues on their cognitive development. At age 2, our kids might start to use toys to put together short stories using symbolic play and imitation. Learn more about the role of play.
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