As 2013 was gearing up for Christmas I told you about our Little Tikes Playdate in Milton Keynes. We love Little Tikes toys because Little Tikes loves children. They take the time to see what makes children tick, how they like to play and what they like to play with. As part of their research, Little Tikes have called on the help of Play Expert and Mother of two, Maggie Redshaw. I have had the great pleasure of meeting Maggie on a number of occasions throughout my blogging years and it’s always a pleasure to meet her, bend her ear on the current state of my journey through Motherhood and get her expert opinion.
During our Playdate Maggie explained that although all children are unique, it is likely that they will spend time exhibiting traits of four play personalities, either one at a time, a combination or one or two, perhaps even all four at the same time!
The Four Play Personalities
First things first – let’s start with one of the youngest – Little Learners!
Young babies are fantastic at learning; everyday they are doing something new. Little Learners in particular will react to everything you show them and are excited by any new shapes and textures.
Whether they manage to get hold of your car keys, phone or a new toy, they can’t wait to get stuck into everything and will learn from everything you show them.
Now if your little one is constantly focused on physical skills like learning to crawl, walk, and run, then they’re probably a Little Mover at the moment.
Some babies prefer to be on the move – which means that Mum and Dad have to be too! Achieving the physical skills associated with becoming upright, standing and beginning to walk are their main goals and they’ll practice these endlessly.
Little Movers love to do things for themselves – so it’s a good idea to be on hand to support their new-found independence (and to keep an eye on them), but don’t be surprised if they insist they can do it all on their own!
Does your little one look at a new toy and then immediately start taking it apart, followed by hours of painstakingly putting it back together again?
Well, some toddlers are Little Builders – great at concentrating and manipulating surprisingly complicated toys!
At this stage they’ve started to learn how things work, from tipping out a digger load to controlling a toy car’s movement – it’s all about understanding. Playing like this is also great for the social aspect of playtime.
Very often little builders often become little explorers and vice versa, excited to learn about different materials. Their choice for play may involve water, sand, mud, or even their dinner!
If your little one can often be found playing dress up, or copying you and their older siblings, they’re probably trying out being a Little Grown-up at the moment.
Just like adults, some children are more socially orientated than others and want to practice everything they see you do! Little Grown-ups will love to have tea parties, cook pretend food, and drive their toy cars.
Swapping roles for a while and trying out being a grown-up is something that lots of children really enjoy and it’s the perfect way for them to learn about empathy and what it might be like to be someone else.
As a parent, remember it’s important to join in – your imagination can lead their imagination and you’re bound to have a lot of fun together too!
We hope these Play Personalities can help you to recognise the key types of play and stages that children go through – our four videos go into more detail regarding what sorts of toys are best for each play type, giving you lots of ideas on how to encourage and get the most out of each one.
So which Play Personality is your child?