The importance of age-appropriate activities in toddler’s learning and development

“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.”.

That’s where parents come in. Because Play is an activity where children show their remarkable ability for exploration, imagination, and decision making. Playing gives your toddlers a chance to express their feelings and practice managing them.

The type of play children are engaged, and their purposes are changed throughout childhood thus each age period has a level of appropriate activities needed for healthy development that parents should pay attention to. 

Did you know that Age-appropriate activities have many benefits for your children’s physical&psychosocial health, wellbeing and cognitive development?

A recent study has shown that appropriate playing activity for children aged 1-3 years is vital for their healthy neurological development, including overall gross motor development, self-help skills, and auditory perception. The study has emphasized on your vital role here to provide and facilitate these activities for your children as a parent.

You may have realized that you don’t even have to struggle to make children play or provide motivation. That is because children seem to have a natural urge to play, and playing brings pleasure and interest to them, meaning that it can be maintained with and without external rewards. 

How do age-appropriate activities support your child’s development and learning?

1. Healthier Neural&Physical development

Physical activities promote healthy growth and development at various levels, such as:

  • Developing stronger bones

  • Developing gross and fine motor skills

  • Building strength, endurance.

  • Improving balance and coordination

  • Improving posture

  • Improving concentration

  • Improving sleep

  • Developing a healthy cardiovascular system

However, inadequate physical activity can bring young children many health issues. Lack of exercise may lead to weight gain or excess body fat, high blood pressure, bone health problems, and cardiovascular disease. Active children usually have fewer chronic health problems, are less likely to get sick, and are at a significantly lower risk of developing diseases or illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and depression.

2.Social and emotional development

The cornerstone of success at school and in life is a successful social-emotional development. For example, playing with peers provides young children the opportunity to develop basic communication, Recognize familiar people, Use his imagination and Start to understand emotions and improve fairness and empathy as they learn to play with other children.

Your Kids will begin to gain an awareness of other people’s attitudes, speech, emotional expression, and behavior during the infant/toddler years. Such development includes a child’s understanding of what to expect from others, how to participate in back-and-forth social exchanges, and which social protocols are to be used with which social situations are to occur.

Associative Play usually begins at this age(2-3 years), so your child will begin looking for other kids. It’s crucial at this stage to give your child plenty of opportunities to spend time with peers.

Also, you need to know that your child always learns best from you, so try to point out different feelings (happy, sad, frightened) while watching tv or telling a story. It will allow your child to be more aware of his or her own feelings as well as those of others. Also, children may begin to display empathy by offering hugs and kisses when needed.

3.Recognition of Ability

The developing sense of your children’s’ self-efficacy includes an emerging understanding that they can make things happen and have special abilities. Self-efficiency is related to a sense of competence that has been identified as a basic human need. The improvement of children’s sense of self-efficacy can be seen in Play or exploratory actions when they act on an object to achieve a result. They pat a musical toy, for example, to make the sounds come out. Older infants can demonstrate recognition of their abilities by “I” statements, such as “I did it” or “I’m good at drawing.”

4.Cognitive development

when your child plays individually and with others, their cognitive skills, such as thinking, remembering, learning, and paying attention, are developed. Children develop the following cognitive skills through Play:

  • problem-solving
  •  the power of imagination and creativity
  •  concepts such as shapes, colors, measurement, counting and letter recognition
  •  strengths, such as concentration, persistence, and resilience.

Another recent research has stated that engaging your children in physical activity and establishing good sleep hygiene are essential to support learning, indicating a critical need for your hand to build supportive environments and community resources to facilitate children’s optimized learning. In turn, better learning outcomes predict better chances to secure work and develop careers that will lead to improved family environments for future generations.

After discussing the importance of activities for your children, and the vital role of these age-appropriate activities for healthy development at various levels, we are sure that you are now wondering how you could find these trustable and science-based activities, well, no need to worry here is specifically what you are looking for! OTPark Box can take care of all the importance listed above and even more!

By a subscription, OTPark Box will provide you a monthly box with appropriate activities for your kids! 

OTPark Box brings a wide variety of developmentally appropriate, expertly designed activities straight to your home. Each box is thoughtfully designed by a pediatric occupational therapist who has had a vast array of experiences working with children of all ages and developmental levels over the past 8 years.

Subscribe to OTPark Box for detailed tasks and activities that will focus on your child’s gross motor and fine motor skills; Cognitive Skills, handwriting development, ideas, and tasks focused on activities of daily living skills such as brushing teeth, dressing, etc.; visual-motor; and social skills related tasks –All in one box, in addition to daily routines, family time, and joyful learning.


Jirout J, LoCasale-Crouch J, Turnbull K, et al. How Lifestyle Factors Affect Cognitive and Executive Function and the Ability to Learn in Children. Nutrients. 2019;11(8):1953. Published 2019 Aug 20. doi:10.3390/nu11081953 /

Silva Batista MA, Almeida Honório SA, Jones GW, Matos Serrano JJ, Duarte Petrica JM. The influence of extra-curricular physical activities in the development of coordination in pre-school children [published online ahead of print, 2017 May 31]. Minerva Pediatr. 2017;10.23736/S0026-4946.17.04981-7. doi:10.23736/S0026-4946.17.04981-7/

Pakarinen A, Hautala L, Hamari L, et al. The Association between the Preference for Active Play and Neurological Development in Toddlers: A Register-Based Study. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020;17(7):2525. Published 2020 Apr 7. doi:10.3390/ijerph17072525/

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