Toddlers love symbolic play
From the age of two, little ones spontaneously start playing symbolically. Encourage them to do so with these activities.
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You’ll often notice your toddler using certain toys or items to represent something else. A wooden block becomes a telephone, a doll is a real baby who has to be fed and cuddled and a cardboard box (such as your little one’s Smartbox) can supply endless entertainment. 

Encourage them to give their imagination wings and join in the fun! A bench can become a bus and you can both bounce around on it as you drive through town. Take a pretend trip to the zoo and encourage your tiny tot to get up and shout out the names of the animals they see as the bus makes its rounds. 

When you notice your little one engages in pretend play with you, offer a clear purpose to your game. For instance, when they hand you a plastic bowl and spoon, explain that you are enjoying the delicious porridge they cooked for you while describing what each mouthful tastes like. 

Be careful not to dictate your little one’s symbolic play sessions, but rather give them the opportunity to lead. This will help develop their imagination.

Click here to learn more about symbolic play.

Mysmartkid is South Africa's leading programme for Early Childhood Development (ECD). Click here to join the programme.

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