Toddlers are very interested in exploring their world. They haven’t yet developed the social skills that preschools use to play with other kids. Parents might wonder what their toddler is thinking when he or she starts playing with “boring” household objects. Here is some insight about what’s going on.
One of the earliest ways for toddlers to be social with each other is through parallel play. One toddler sits on the floor next to a huge pile of cars and trucks. She selects one, and starts rolling it back and forth on the floor in front of her.
Another toddler watches for a minute, then selects one for himself. He sits on the floor across from the first toddler and rolls the car back and forth in front of him. The two toddlers might glance up at one another at random moments. The toddlers feel like they are playing together.
Boxes of Tissues
Your toddler finds an open box of facial tissues. He pulls one tissue out. Another immediately appears. Of course, your toddler needs to pull out the next tissue, and the next. A parent might only see a mess of tissues on the floor. A toddler sees a magic box that keeps producing tissues!
Big Empty Boxes
A parent buys her child a toy that comes in a huge box. The toddler finds the box more interesting than the toy itself. Where parents see an empty cardboard box, toddlers see a boat, or car, or an airplane. There is a whole adventure story happening in the toddler’s mind. That empty box is taking the toddler somewhere!
Did the box come with bubble wrap? Use masking tape to secure the bubble wrap to the floor. Your toddler will have a great time investigating the texture of the bubble wrap, and figuring out how to pop the bubbles.
Spatulas and Mixing Bowls
One reason why toddlers love to play with mixing bowls, spatulas, and plastic storage containers is because they can use them to make noise! Your toddler has discovered that when he bangs the bowl onto the floor – it makes a sound – and that he can repeat the behavior to do it again.
Toddlers also like to mimic what they see their parents do. You might be washing the dishes, or cooking dinner. Your toddler wants to do that, too. Choose some sturdy plastic kitchen items that your toddler can safely play with.
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