Children of all ages play alone or with other children or adults. They like to engage in role play and often mimic grown-ups. Their toys can be expensive or they can improvise and make simple ones. Children are often in a world of their own, a fantasy world. When playing, children learn social skills and problem solving. Playing helps a child grow from having an egocentric view of the world to becoming a social human being. In play, kids develop their creativity and they learn patience.
Small children develop their senses quickly. When experimenting with his toy, this little boy grows his abilities to see and touch, to coordinate eyes and hands, to concentrate on a task, to judge distance, etc.
Interacting with a pet helps a child's social, emotional and cognitive development. Even if a walking stick insect is not the first choice of children who are fond of animals, this little girl enjoys playing with hers. Parents may like the fact that a stick insect requires very little caring, food and maintenance.
Children like to mimic adults. This little boy takes repairing his toy car very seriously and is consulting a manual before beginning any repairs.
Gender roles often become apparent when children are playing. Here a boy is operating an excavator and the girls are baking cakes in a sandbox in the garden. Playing together helps children develop a sense of identity as well as social skills like collaboration and understanding the feelings of others.
Children like to imitate grown-ups. Everyday household activities are popular, since little ones are familiar with them. Here a little girl is having a coffee party. Imitating adults helps a child to develop skills and a sense of self.
Sibling rivalry seems to be inevitable in all families with more than one child, but as they grow older, siblings get on better and better with each other. The younger child looks up to and admires an older sibling, who in turn takes pride in helping a smaller sister or brother. Playing together is a good way of bonding.
A girl helping her little brother with his school assignment. An older sister or brother can be a good role model and show responsibility.
Little girl drawing. Even if the result may be far from artistic, parents should encourage their children's attempts. Drawing helps develop creativity, symbolic thinking, fine motor skills, etc.
Little girl climbing through a jungle gym. This is an activity that helps develop motor skills as well as an understanding of three-dimensional space.
Outdoor activities are important for children. Here is a happy girl jumping on a trampoline. In addition to being fun, this is an activity that improves body control and coordination. Trampolining is also a good exercise to improve muscles, heart rate, flexibility, joint and tendon functions, etc.
Nine-year-old girl with a tablet. Tablets can be used for entertainment like watching films or playing games, but they also build reading, writing and mathematics skills. Parents often find themselves in a dilemma between helping their children become technology-savvy and keeping them safe from internet harm.
Children enjoy role play. Often the real thing is better than, for example, a play kitchen. Being able to help mum and dad gives the child better self-esteem in addition to improving motor skills and understanding of concepts such as hot/cold, wet/dry, deep/shallow, floating/sinking, etc.