There’s loads of play ideas for babies and toddlers available on the internet if you know where to look. See also our page with toys for babies and toddlers (last updated in August 2018).
Understanding The Importance Of Play
Parents understand the importance of play. Not only is it brilliant fun but it also helps with social, emotional, intellectual and physical development. I also think it teaches us adults to be a bit more patient. Anyone who’s spent the afternoon sitting in a play-tent having to drink umpteen cups of pretend tea will understand this.
NHS Pregnancy and Baby Guide
The NHS Pregnancy and Baby Guide includes a section on play ideas for babies and toddlers including reading. The guide goes up to 30 months and has important info on toy safety including advice on second-hand toys and button batteries.
It includes instructions on how to make a cheap but effective rattle, sock puppets and there’s a recipe for playdough too. We always seemed to be making this when my children were younger and coloured it with food colouring.
NCT Guide To Communication And Play
Parent support group the NCT, has lots of useful play ideas for babies and toddlers on their website. They discuss ways to help you enjoy interacting together, with information on baby play and communication including music, active play, discovery play, sensory play and books.
They stress the importance of remembering babies and toddlers are individuals — just like their parents — and what fascinates one, might not interest another.
Baby Centre Play Ideas
The Baby Centre has some cracking ideas for arts and crafts for pre-schoolers including videos on vegetable printing, leaf collages and making gloop. It also has useful articles by a childcare expert on sensory play for babies as well as imaginative and active play for older toddlers and pre-schoolers.
Baby Centre also has weekly games for babies from 1-5 weeks of age.
Mom Loves Best
Mom Loves Best is a US parenting site with some very useful resources including this feature entitled Why Playtime Is An Essential Part of Childhood Development. There is a great deal of information here including the benefits of play, the different types of play and what to look for in a toy.
Words For Life
Words For Life is a resource-rich website from The National Literary Trust. It aims to help parents make all the difference to their child’s communication skills. Of course, this is an important step on the road to helping them develop good relationships, do well at school and be confident, happy people.
There are some excellent free resources on the Words For Life website including Charlie and Lola colouring pages and Paddington activities.
Living Made Easy
Living Made Easy offers practical advice on daily living equipment for children with disabilities. The play and leisure section includes various games, toys and equipment for children and young people. This includes cycles, equipment for swimming, puzzles, sensory toys and equipment and play equipment for both indoor and outdoor use.
There is also information on how to source suitable toys and activities to develop the cognitive, fine and gross motor and visual skills of your child.