The Importance of Play

in Child Development

My personal opinion on play and how I believe it affects toddler development...

There is a quote that I love and feel that it coincides with the play and development of toddlers and that is, "When you asked me what I did in school today and I say, 'I just played.' Please don't misunderstand me. For you see, I am learning as I play. I am learning to enjoy and be successful in my work. Today I am a child and my work is play." - Anita Wadley, 1974

As professionals (pediatrician,teachers, or caregivers) and as parents I believe that we must understand and watch our toddlers at play and watch them explore the world and things around them. As they are exploring new things and playing with different things they too are learning many things. To not allow a child to play and roam is to keep them from learning.

The concept of play...

A developmentally appropriate environment would include...

furniture and centers that are appropriate for the age group that is in that particular room. Toys and books would need to be age appropriate, furniture would need to be safe and stable for toddlers, and centers must have clean, disinfected toys so that the children stay healthy. Since toddlers learn about the world around them by acting on objects and the things that surround them it is appropriate to have many opportunities for physically exploring. Centers must be where toddlers can have easy access to select from them. Other materials and items for learning will be placed in an appropriate place until it is time to teach that activity.

The significance of designing an environmental space to nurture a child's physical, socio-emotional, cognitive, and language development...

Toddlers will explore and try to figure out what everything around them is, what the toy or object is for, and how to use it. Toddlers want to understand and know the meaning of everything they come in to contact with. The environment that the toddler is in needs to be carefully designed to meet all of their physical, socio-emotional, cognitive, and language development needs.

When homes and day care centers provide the right environment it makes for a wonderful place for nurturing the development of the toddlers.

Toddlers who play in this type of environment will have an abundance of opportunities for expanding their knowledge and skills.

I would recommend a physical space and the materials listed below as part of the space needed for toddler development...