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How play can enhance social and cognitive development
Posted in: toddler, baby 
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The power of play - that is, enhancing your child's social and cognitive development, is all important. Renowned psychologist, Jean Piaget, summed it up best: "play is a child's work." During play, children develop cognitive abilities like abstract thinking and problem solving. Opportunities to play also present opportunities to socialise. As a parent, you become the prime candidate for channeling your child's play experiences in a way that is challenging and developmentally appropriate. Here are some key points regarding play behaviour to guide you in the process of enhancing your child's social and cognitive development. From Toy to Social Tool

In the beginning, toys and objects serve as play things for infants to suck, grab and swat and to eventually push, pull, drop and stack in an exploratory manner. It is common to see a 1-year-old pick up an object and look at it as if he is thinking: What is this? How can I play with this? The power of play at work. What will happen if I drop it? Will it move? Does it smell? Make noise? Through experimentation with toys and objects and through trial and error, the young child begins to make sense of the world. Sometime between 12 to 18 months, children begin to use toys and objects for more than just it's function, but as objects that can represent something else entirely - the first foray into abstract thinking. Toys, then, are tools for imaginative play. To the toddler, a beanbag is no longer just a soft weighted object that can be held or tossed. It becomes a telephone to hold at your ear, cheese to put on a sandwich, or a present to give to a friend. Pretend Play, Real Learning

The toddler's ability to use a toy as a tool for imaginative play is an important step for being able to engage in pretend play, an inevitable social milestone in the young child's development. The...
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