How children play from birth to two yearsReliance on adultsAt the beginning, babies are almost completely reliant on adults. They enjoy and feel safe being in close proximity to adults. Adults should be playing games with them so they can be stimulated. Toddlers will often move their toys to be near a familiar adult for the safety they get when near them. As well as playing with adults, older babies/toddlers will also enjoy watching older children play. Moving and touching Another characteristic of this age group is their longing to explore their surrounding objects either with their hands, or up to 18 months, using their mouths. They are very curious this can lead to serious danger if they are not continuously supervised. Children at this age will use mouthing as a way to explore the world around them and if they find a small object, for example a hair pin, sweet wrapper or even small removable parts of toys made for older children, they could easily choke. To avoid this danger a parent can be advised to purchase a playpen as a way to keep the children safe during times when the carer is otherwise occupied. Once a baby can move they will be very difficult to control so special care must be taken to keep them away from potentially harmful objects. Repeating playIf a baby finds something enjoyable they will want to repeat it. For example, if a toddler finds it funny or enjoyable to push down a tower of blocks, next time they get the chance, they will. They do this because they know they are safe to do so as well as knowing they will enjoy it. How children play from two to five yearsBeing with other childrenAt this age and stage of a child’s development they will find playing with other children more fun and rewarding than the solitary play they have tended to prefer up to this point. Starting with playing near other children, from the age of 3 children will begin to share toys with each other, play role playing games in small groups and build things from resources they have been given. This sudden change can be down to a improvement in the social development of the children and their new need to create new relationships with other children in their age range.More complex playAt this stage, children’s physical development has dramatically improved and they are now capable and enjoy activities that are more complex and challenging then they would’ve been able to achieve previously. They will love to climb and play ball games and run around, although this may not be very organised until around the age of 4.Talk during playAt this age range, we finally see the addition of speech into play as their language skills are becoming much more developed. From around the age of two a child may start to talk during play if only to themselves. To spectating adults this chatter will most likely be incomprehensible as their language skills are still limited. As they become more fluent they will be able to use their new skills to talk clearly during play both with themselves and others. Because of this children will play games that require more imagination and communication between the children such as role playing.Adult supervision and support Despite now playing well with other children, adults must continue to offer the support a child needs during play. A child might feel the need to have an adult watch over what they are doing, for instance, when making things out of modelling dough, both as a way of seeking encouragement and getting the approval they desire. An adult can support this area of a child’s play by offering all the encouragement and support they need. A way of doing this, is complementing things they do, such as the shapes they make out of the dough or towers they build out of bricks. This will build their self-esteem as well as make their play time more enjoyable. As well as offering support, it is paramount that adults must be present to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the child.