While it is a child's job to play, it is a parent's job to create situations that are best suited to a child's playtime needs.
- Create a playful environment - provide props and objects to use for make believe. Everyday objects, such as a hat or a box, can go a long way in the creative mind of a toddler. Be sure to provide age-appropriate toys.
- Establish different play centres around the house - both inside and out - where kids know it's OK to get dirty, where they can build or where they can dress up.
- Create opportunities for your child to play with other children his own age. Research indicates that children who have had several chances to play with their peers from an early age are better prepared and more socially competent when they enter formal group settings such as daycare or elementary school.
- Whenever possible, transform daily routines into playful experiences. Your picky eater will become much more interested in her dinner if broccoli becomes a magical tree and mashed potatoes a snow-covered mountain. Even the most tedious of chores, such as picking up toys or helping with the dishes, can turn into fun activities for young children if they are presented in a playful way.