Encouraging Babies and Toddlers to Play

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Children show interest in toys and activities from a young age; they typically begin engaging with objects or people in repetitive patterns. You can discover your child’s play patterns by watching them play independently or with others. These patterns are called schemas. Schemas enable children to learn about the world around them. We will break down the most common schemas so you can determine the best toys and activities with which to engage your child.

Consider the following play patterns when sorting toys or shopping for new activities to engage your child. You may find you have more toys in one area than another. You can evaluate and adjust the toys and activities you have for your child to engage with to promote various schemas.

Connection and Trajectory

Learn about the many ways to connect items and ways to play when your child has an interest in moving objects.

Rotation, Enclosing and Enveloping, and Orientation

 Learn activities you can do when your child is interested in objects that roll. Consider how you can construct enclosures your child can play within and how you can encourage sorting and ordering items.

Transporting, Transforming, and Positioning

Learn activities for your child when their interest is in moving from one place to another. Learn how to combine and change materials and view the world differently.  

Once you have a list of your child’s interests, take the quiz to find out more about their play schema: PlayLab: Discover your Child’s Play Schema (theimaginationtreestore.com).