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Your child learning through play

Play helps children to develop and learn.

Playing with your child lets them know that you love them. It lets them know they're important and they're fun to be around.

You can build a strong relationship with your child through playing with them. This can help their long-term mental health in a positive way.

Making time for play

Play sessions do not need to be long to be useful. But if you are struggling to find time to play together, you can spend time with your child in other ways.

You could let them help you with household chores, such as cooking and cleaning. Learning to help you complete tasks can improve your child’s concentration.

Spending time with you will also help their development. It is better than playing with an electronic device or watching television.

Screen time and young children

Books and audio books can also improve your child’s concentration. They can help to encourage learning.

You can borrow books and audio books for free at your local library.

Play routine

A play routine is a planned play session that follows a sequence of activities.

When making a play routine, consider:

  • how long you plan to play
  • what skills you want to develop
  • making it fun
  • making it child-led - for older children

Play routines should be repetitive. This gives children the opportunity to practice skills.

By planning ahead you can let your child know when playtime will end. Children like to be able to finish their game, rather than stopping suddenly.

Finish your play routine by encouraging your child to tidy up, so that they know when playtime is over.

Development through play

How to play with your child

Page last reviewed: 15 September 2022
Next review due: 15 September 2025