Soon, your little guy will be zooming off to Mars, riding a giraffe to the store or feeding his pet dinosaur a treat of bubble gum. He will! Sometime before he’s three, the cognitive steps that make imaginative play possible will fall into place, and a new world will open up.
It looks so simple — a child pretending to be a firefighter or earnestly engaged in a make-believe conversation — but pretending is a complicated process. Right now, he has a limited ability to think in abstracts, to put objects into categories, and to play around with ideas. His understanding of the world is based mostly on what is in front of him, right now. But his thinking and language skills are growing daily and as that happens, his imagination will start to bloom, and the sky will literally be the limit to his play.
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Shy support system
Some kids have long eyelashes, or curly hair. Some are outgoing, and some are more reserved. If your child takes a while to warm up to people he doesn’t know, or if he proceeds with caution in an unfamiliar setting like a new playgroup, accept him for who he is. Being reserved is simply a part of a child’s temperament. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t introduce your child to new and interesting situations, but it does mean you may have to support him more than his more outgoing buddies. He may require a little more time to settle in, and a bit of extra patience from you and other grown-ups.
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Playtime! Craft corner
Now that your toddler’s fine-motor skills are improving, crafts are a great way to help him practise his new abilities. As your little guy busies himself colouring, cutting and gluing, he won’t even know he’s learning as he goes! Try our 9 cupcake liner crafts.
A word of caution, always supervise children while they have scissors. Even if they are child-safe, if you’re not vigilant you may find yourself dealing with a not-so-welcome milestone of this age: the self-administered hair cut!
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Originally published on Oct. 23, 2011.