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Child Development

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Toddler Play and Interaction

Toddlers spend the majority of their day playing. Through play they strengthen and develop their motor skills, learn how to interact with others, and find their place in the world.

Friends and Play

Playtime among toddlers should be limited to a couple of hours. During the visit, struggles should be expected between toddlers. Toddlers have not developed their social skills. Through playing and being around other toddlers, a child will learn how problems are worked out and how their frustrations should be managed.


To cut down on battles between toddlers, caregivers should provide duplicates of toys when possible, and provide a wide variety of toys and activities to choose from. Toddlers should be given the chance to work out conflicts with their peers alone. However, caregivers should step in if one child is physically hurting another, or being overly aggressive.

Parents and Play

Toddlers should be given one-on-one time each day with their caregiver that is just for play.

Toddlers may sit and play alone in front of their caregiver and simply beam in their presence, or they may prefer more interaction from the adult. Caregivers can push toy cars and trucks around, help a child with a shape-sorter, puzzle or other toy. Toddlers love to have stories read to them, and they become engrossed in turning pages in picture books. Toddlers like to pretend they are serving meals in a play kitchen or making a tower by stacking blocks.

Toddlers love to mimic caregivers. One way to keep toddlers busy and engaged is by letting a toddler feel as if they are helping around the home. Toddlers can have their own child-size broom, mop, and dust rags. They can also be given buckets, shovels and play push mowers. Toddlers love praise and the feeling that they are helping.

Toddlers tend to want to stay close to their caregivers. However, toddlers may play contentedly alone for up to an hour.

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