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The Power of Play
Learning through play from birth to three

From day one, children are eager and determined to under-stand how the world works. They do this through play, using all the “tools” they have at their disposal.

Watch your child at play, and you will see the kind of concentra-tion, passion, and creative excitement that artists and scientists bring to their projects.

An 8-week-old learns about communication and the joy of close relationships as he smiles, coos, and gurgles when his dad talks with him. A 15-month-old uses her body and mind to learn about up and down, high and low, and how strong and competent she is on a trip with grandma to the play-ground. A 3-year-old playing pretend develops her own ideas, uses her imagination, and builds friendships.

Playing with your child is not only fun, it’s one of the most important ways you can nurture her development. There are no rules when it comes to play. And you don't need fancy toys. In fact, you are your child’s favorite toy.

Every child is unique. Your child may have special skills or special needs. Follow your child’s lead. She’ll let you know what interests her. When she sees the pleasure and delight you take in her discoveries, she'll want to play more and more. Play will benefit you, too. Being spontaneous and having fun can relieve stress and create positive memories for both you and your child. And when your child is engaged and having fun, she is learning. Play is truly the work of childhood.


Reprinted with permission from © ZERO TO THREE: National Center For Infants, Toddlers and Families. For more information, visit: www.zerotothree.org

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