Playing is not just a fun activity. It's the best way for young children to learn.


Playing helps children to practise all the skills they need as they grow up.

  • Remember, in order to grow and develop; kids need time and attention from someone who's happy to play with them.1
  • As a parent, you should take the time to play with your child. You can also play an active role in siblings' games.1

Tips for playing with young children and encourage thinking1,2

  • Bring together several different things for your child to look at, think about and do.
  • Have conversations with your child about what he/ she is doing.
  • Make your child understand concepts, e.g., soft, hard, big, small, heavy, light, rough and smooth while playing.
  • Instigate children to use their imagination as they tell a story about what they have created while playing.
  • Make a plan with children as they decide what to build together in a game.
  • Give them activity cards to play. These cards comprise activities arranged from easier to harder, which can help children develop skills for talking and thinking, moving and doing, learning about self and getting along with others.
  • Children love listening to your stories; this way, you can probe them to tell you their own stories.
  • Provoke them to make up silly rhymes.
  • You can show pictures to your child and ask simple questions about pictures that can help them use or show understanding of words.
  • You can talk about colours while showing the picture book.
  • You can ask the children to count the objects pictured in the book.
  • While showing/ reading storybooks, ask your child what he/ she would have done in a similar situation or what would have happened if the ending were to be different, etc.
  • You can give children the board puzzle and ask them to complete the puzzle; ask them to memorize where each piece fits in. You can also challenge them to complete the puzzle as fast as they can.


  1. Why play is important[Internet]. Available at: Accessed on Feb 13, 2020.
  2. Early Child Development Kit: A Treasure Box of Activities. UNICEF EDT unit[Internet]. Available at: Accessed on Feb 13, 2020.