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Playing with your child and providing opportunities for him to play independently will help him develop his creativity, imagination, and social and emotional skills. Babies and children need stimulation and interaction to foster brain development. They learn how to interact with others and the world around them through play.

Play is the "work" of childhood and is critical to your child's healthy development! It is through play that children solve problems, learn to work in groups, to share, negotiate, advocate for themselves, and strengthen their growing bodies. Play is also a simple joy of childhood that parents can encourage and protect by allowing their child to lead the play activity. Playground time with other children, playdates at home or in other social settings will help your child prepare for the social interactions of school.

Setting aside playtime for your young child will foster her imagination and problem-solving and allow her time to work out all the exciting things she is learning about her world. No expensive toys or gadgets are needed to promote play. Simple items such as blocks, empty containers, or old clothes for dress-up can spark hours of imagination in a young child!

The Talk Read Play Milestones Guide provides ways that all families, regardless of income, home language or culture, can help their child develop strong social and problem-solving skills.

Children are learning all the time. For your child, there is no distinction between learning and playing. As his parent, you simply need to know that he is learning about life every moment and encourage opportunities to be curious and to play.

Playing with your child now will help him to be ready to play and learn with others in school and in life!

Creative play can be encouraged with simple, open-ended toys, such as blocks, crayons, vehicles, dolls or animals, and old clothes that can be used in a variety of ways by an imaginative child.

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