Children learn about the world around them through exploration and play. The role of play in child development is important for the development gross motor, fine motor and social skills. Play can be as simple as imitating the sounds that your infant makes, or it can be more involved, such as putting puzzles together, stacking blocks and imitating complex block patterns. Play activities such as these are great for motor and perceptual development, and they are also wonderful for social skill development.
Parents and caregivers need to have a basic understanding of developmental milestones in childhood. This knowledge will be helpful when encouraging your child come up with ideas for play.
Here is a brief early developmental milestone chart of skills that influence play. Please keep in mind that all children develop at their own individual rates, so the ages for acquiring these milestones may vary from child to child.
Begins to show interest in and curiosity about the environment – 4 to 6 months
Object permanence emerging/pointing to pictures and objects- 10 months to 1 year
Imitation and solitary play skills- 1 year to 15 months
Parallel play and symbolic play- 2 years
Interactive play and taking turns- 2 ½ to 3 years