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Pretend Play to help Develop Social skills and behaviour in toddlers featuring Honeybake Toys range by Le Toy Van

Parenting sometimes can be really challenging and surely when you child is a bit different or have more/special needs. Difference is never easy to cope with and to find the right support and the right things to do.  Sometimes, a child will need more help to develop social and interpersonal skills: it does not mean that you child has an issue or is not “normal”. I absolutely hate this word as it does not mean anything.

A thing I have learnt with the time is that there is nothing more helpful than play. Yes, Playing helps learn so many things and also helps reveal any difficulties your child might have.

So how children can learn through play?

Young children are learning and developing quickly. They are playing, learning and experimenting. Children learn through all their senses by:

  • tasting, touching, seeing, hearing and smelling
  • watching and copying people close to them: this is how they learn language and behaviour

We have already discussed the importance to touch and see and I presented you Grimm’s Toys in my article about Raising a bilingual child. Do you remember?

Grimm's blue mobile home and Grimm's friends

We will now discuss how PRETEND PLAY can help your child learn and develop social and interpersonal skills: this is all about copying adults behaviour.

It’s important that learning stays fun. It needs to be about doing things with them that they like.  Show them how things work, but if they want to experiment, let them. Never push a child too hard: there is no point because children develop in their own ways and in their own time. And most of all : try not to compare them to other children. Mums are quite good at this but do not follow. Your baby is fine whatever  he/she and the others can or cannot do.

It’s also good to talk to them a lot, about everyday things in your day to day life and whatever you are doing : cooking, cleaning, reading…. This will give you a chance to teach them how things work and they will be able to ask you questions.

Play also allows children to relax and develop social skills such as concentration and co-operation, encourages the development of the imagination, develops motor skills and teaches self expression.

Pretend play is essential to a child’s social and emotional development and can play a large part in their physical development too. Children make sense of the world in which they live by acting out situations before they happen and by copying what they see around them.

Most children are naturally imaginative and creativity should be actively encouraged! This type of play also develops children’s imaginations which are closely linked to intellectual development.

This is why we should encourage pretend play with other children and adults.

As children develop so do their interpersonal and social skills, around siblings and peers children learn to share and also to be assertive and persuasive.

As children learn language they learn how to communicate in increasingly complex ways.  At still relatively young ages children know how to communicate differently to different people: parents, siblings, grandparents, teachers and other people.

Having a pre-schooler and a toddler at home, we try to encourage them by playing together but is not easy with the age gaps. Plus, Baba1 struggles with sharing. She will go to Reception Year very very soon in September and I am so worried for her. We tried during the holidays to help her as best as we can by encouraging pretend play.

Le Toy van logoBecause she loves cooking and helping me around, I have chosen the Honeybake Range from Le Toy Van to encourage sharing with her younger sister and I wanted to encourage Baba2 with speaking. She is nearly 2 years old and barely speaks which is expected as she is raised in a bilingual environment.

I wanted to create a real family kitchen in their playroom with the fundamental elements so I have chosen to achieve this with these Honeybake elements:

le toy van Hoineybake toys

  • the Honeybake Applewood Kitchen*
  • the Honeybake Pots and Pans set*
  • the Honeybake Apron & Utensils set*
  • the Honeybake Cookies Set*
  • the Honeybake Pizza Set
  • the Honeybake Breakfast Tray
  • the Honeybake Mixer Set {Will show you this one later}

The first thing I have done with Baba1, I have involved her in opening and assembling the toys. I thought she might be interested on discovering how to assemble in a more elaborated manner toys so she helped me. You can find the unboxing videos on my youtube channel or below:

We have assembled together the Applewood kitchen, I will make separate reviews for these toys.

The aim goal being to develop social skills, after installing all of our kitchen elements, I  first played with Baba1. She naturally played with them, copying what I was doing in the kitchen. She offered her dad and I some food. It was really interesting but unfortunately, sharing with her little sister was more difficult. So we played all together imitating our lunch time. It was a success, she eventually integrated her little sister into the play act. The goal was to drive her to be able of naturally sharing toys with other children without getting frustrated {this is our main issue and where she struggles} and let them play without following her directives.

We are not getting at what we want, but by playing everyday in our Honeybake kitchen, we are improving. We tried to show you all what you could do and how she loved the toys:

 Then , separately, when Baba1 was not around, I played with Baba2. Why separately? because the goals are totally different and Baba1 might not let me play with Baba2 the way I want to. She likes to lead the play.

So with Baba2, a 2 years old toddler, I wanted to help her develop:

  • Eyes and hands coordination
  • recognizing shapes
  • learn new words
  • copying behaviour
  • sharing and socializing

We had a lovely time together and she knows what each of the toy is supposed to do. Here is our play session:

First Eyes and hands coordination  plus shapes with the cookies set:

Then , we played pretend play together and she loved it. She was really in love with the pots and pans and I forgot: the whisk! And she brought her soft doll top give her some cookies.

 

With this kind of toys and play, it is really interesting to see and observe the differences between your children and the development stages.

I encourage parents to really stimulate as soon as possible their children by playing with them and talking a lot. We do use all of our toys also to teach our daughters the french and English vocabulary. It is really useful to evaluate the needs language wise in an informal way.

With Baba1 who is completely fluent in french and in English, to drive out any shortcoming in conjugation in both languages, these tools are wonders!

So let’s play and learn together!

Note : I have been generously sent the products marked with a * above for this post purpose and I have mentioned and used them because I wanted to. No compensation have been received for doing it.  All words (including spelling mistakes) and opinions are 100% my own and genuine.

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