Play time for infants and toddlers




Submitted by Kathleen Lefcourt, ChildStrive

Playtime is special.  As a parent or caregiver, your child loves to play with you – you are their favorite toy!  From the very beginning of a child’s life they are watching your face as you feed or bathe them, and listening to your voice as you diaper or dress them.  Any activity can be playful for a young child, even a simple task like sorting socks can bring smiles and giggles.

Playing is a child’s “work.”  Watch your child at play and you will see concentration, passion and creative excitement that will stay with your child throughout his or her life.  Anytime a child is engaged in having fun, learning is taking place.

Here are a few ideas that will engage a young child and help their intellectual, social, emotional and physical development.

Utilize musical instruments.  Whether you have actual instruments or improvise with spoons, a plastic jug for a drum, or strike blocks together, these tools help your child interact with you and may have an added benefit of teaching rhythm.

Sing fingers songs like “Itsy Bitsy Spider”, “Wheels on the Bus” or one of your favorite childhood songs that involves hand motions.  It doesn’t matter how your voice sounds, your child will love to hear you sing and will enjoy the interaction.

Read books together.  Point out animals, shapes or people, and label them with names.  This encourages your child to grow vocabulary and get a sense of how the world works around them.

Blow bubbles.  Whether your child can blow bubbles on their own, or you have to do it for them, bubbles are a great way to encourage eye contact, develop motor skills and can motivate shy kids to communicate.

Encourage imagination. Pretend your feeding dolls, driving cars or trains, hammering nails, or stirring food.  Your child will teach you what they are most interested in and you can build on their ideas.

Enjoy this important time in the life of your child!

ChildStrive (formerly known as Little Red School House) has been partnering with Tulalip families for more than 30 years.  For more information about your child’s childhood development contact Courtney Miller at ChildStrive at (425) 353-5656 x7145 or  More information about ChildStrive can be found on our website at