Play is a game changer for toddlers

woman in brown coat carrying child in orange and white striped polo shirt

At the Fathering Project, we believe that “play is a game changer” for children’s development. Fathers who engage in active play with their kids encourage them to explore, discover, and problem-solve. In particular, rough and tumble play, such as tickling, chasing, and fun wrestling, has been shown to boost children’s confidence and ability to cope with challenges.

This type of play also helps children develop self-control, learn to take safe risks, and acquire fundamental movement skills. To get the most out of playtime, we recommend that fathers engage in physically active play and let their children take the lead in choosing activities. By giving their full attention and asking questions about what their kids are doing, fathers can support their children’s development while also having fun together.

Top Tips

  • Engage in physically active play - opt for activities such as chasing, spinning around and dancing, or even gentle play wrestling on a safe, soft surface.
  • Let your toddler choose activities so they learn to explore and be creative. (Dads if you’re dressed up like a princess at a teddy bears tea party, you are doing something right!) 
  • Give your child your full attention. Get down to their level and let them guide you to be involved. 
  • Join in by asking questions about what they are doing  “What are you and Teddy doing, can I come too?” 

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