Play is a natural process that children do all the time. From an early age children start to observe and absorb their surroundings. They start engaging all their senses of sight, sound, touching, smelling and tasting. These senses are engaged through observing, experimenting and copying in gaining essential skills.
Through parents becoming involved with their babies they become their baby’s first “toy”. Apart from the parents getting responses from their babies through their actions, babies quickly learn to respond to a different person’s sounds and touches. These interchanges also make babies aware of their immediate environment.
The early years are the most formative period of a child’s development. Children get to know themselves, become aware of their environment, develop basic motor skills and abilities that helps shape their self-image and confidence through the rest of their lives.
Little ones will initially play by themselves. They learn by observing others play. As they develop, they learn to interact with other children through sharing toys, giving toys away or fighting over them. Children learn from other children through observing, communicating, experimenting and sharing fantasies with other children.
The most rapid physical, emotional and mental growth takes place within the first five years of a child’s development. There are distinct stages where specific aspects of a child’s development are prominent.