As parents, we often look for ways to boost our children’s development without having to spend hours in the classroom. One of the ways that we can give our children a boost in their social, emotional, language and cognitive skills is by giving them opportunities to play. it can be hard to see that our kids are missing out on these early developmental stages by being inside and staring at screens. For this post, we have gathered together a list of 3 Playtime activities that you can turn into educational moments for your kids

Some of the most simple games are the most educational. Studies have shown that through play children are able to learn valuable skills, whether it’s expanding their vocabulary, learning social skills, or developing their imagination, allowing your child to play independently and with others is just as important and educational as sitting through class. Your child does not necessarily need to be in a classroom or wait to reach a certain age to start. Even as babies, your toddler used playtime as a way to learn their motor skills. Now that they have reached the toddler age, let’s look at some ways you can encourage playtime learning at home.

Apps

Too much screen time isn’t a good thing for toddlers. However, you can allow an extra hour or so to help your toddler learn through apps on their iPad. Since a lot of toddlers have iPads these days, it makes it easier and more convenient to keep your toddler engaged. Whether it’s learning another language, the alphabet, numbers, shapes, and tracing letters, your toddler can turn screen time into a time to learn some new skills. If an iPad isn’t around, using a laptop or desktop with a parent can be just as effective. As a tip, be sure to have the right broadband internet service for your household. Children tend to be distracted by any interruption, so having a fast-speed internet connection can help keep them focused and engaged.

Dress up

Make-believe and playing pretend is another great way to help your child develop new skills. A lot of times you’ll be surprised at how much they can mimic from listening to mom and dad, shows and movies that they watch on tv, and even from reading their favorite books. Kids tend to retain certain images and words and when they play a certain “role” they will speak in the same way that character does. Imaginative play also allows them to expand their imagination, especially when they have someone to pretend with. Playing with others helps them develop social and emotional skills that come from communication with another person. Having a chest or drawer full of different costumes will be fun for your little one to visit different places turning into different characters. For example, if you’re little one loves pretending she’s a princess, a princess dress for girls at Presley Couture is a great way to start collecting dresses. If your little one seems to take some interest in pretending to be a firefighter or a doctor, places such as Amazon are a good place to start looking.

Games

If your little one is too young for board games, there are still several other games that will be fun while keeping them entertained and learning something new. Games such as Rattlesnake Jake are a fun way to teach your little one about taking turns, winning versus losing, and about rules. Although the game says it’s for ages four and up, it is easy to comprehend for toddlers as young as three. Because of the small gold nugget pieces, younger than three might be a choking hazard so as a precaution, your little one should be over the “putting things in their mouth” phase.

Next time you think your child has had too much playtime, remember that somewhere in that playtime they learned something new. Whether you caught it or not, they learned a new word, traveled to a new place in their mind, and taught themselves a new motor skill.