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Play Power

By Dr Alistair Bryce-Clegg, renowned childcare expert and co-founder of My First Five Years.

Turn simple household items into educational toys and give your child’s creativity, imagination and social skills a boost.

Do find yourself struggling for new ways to play with your little one? Or looking for ways to make their playtime more educational?

Good news: playing is learning!

Play, in all its forms, truly is important for development. We know from research that play has huge benefits for children, especially in their early years.

We know that play:

* Builds and strengthens connections in the brain.
* Supports babies and children to learn about their body, build strength and control (building foundations for physical skills including using tools, handwriting and sport).
* Helps children learn about themselves, other people and the society in which they live.
* Supports development of understanding of objects and how they behave.
* Supports creative thinking and imagination.
* Supports wellbeing - through providing autonomy and engagement which in turn has a positive impact on motivation.

Play gives you both positive feelings – so it’s good for wellbeing too!

Play releases four feel-good hormones: dopamine, serotonin, endorphins and oxytocin, and these make both you and your toddler feel good.

These four hormones collectively help us to bond with others and to feel good and happy. They are released when we do things that make us happy; for your toddler that would include when you play with them, and the same for you when having fun together.

At My First Five Years we firmly believe that “Play is the superpower we all possess!”

It’s not as difficult as it can seem to weave meaningful play into your day. Look at the skills your toddler is working towards – you can use playful games to develop them together.

Our books, as well as our free app, contain loads of ideas for learning through play all based on what stage of learning your baby, toddler or child are mastering. (And they’re all simple, using household items, so no special art supplies or expensive toys needed!)

Dr Alistair Bryce-Clegg is a renowned childcare expert and co-founder of My First Five Years, the popular parent support app, as well as an award-winning author and Early Childhood consultant. Each book in the My First Five Years series explains the why behind different types of play and provides 60 activities designed to support your toddler’s physical, social and emotional development.