Children’s brains grow at a faster rate in the first three years of life than at any other time in their development.

 One of the best ways toddlers learn and get smarter during this critical time is through play. And it’s FREE!

 Interactive play has been shown to have an impact not only on brain development, but also on children’s ability to regulate emotions, improve language acquisition, learn social-emotional skills important for school entry and strengthen relationships.

The most important play partner during the early years is you!  When parents join with their children in play by observing, encouraging, and adding new ideas, children’s skills, confidence, and imaginations blossom.

To support learning through parent-child play, we’ve introduced a new initiative called Prescription for Play made possible through a partnership between the Weitzman Institute and the Lego Foundation.

At every well visit between 18- 36 months of age, we provide a free Duplo kit for parents and children to enjoy together while in the exam room.  Then we send each family home with a Duplo kit and a prescription for 15 minutes of playtime together every day.

Dr. Stacy Leatherwood Cannon wrote in her post, Prescription for Play, that “making a commitment to helping your child play can be difficult when you’re already overwhelmed. “

 Dr. Cannon suggested 4 strategies that can help make daily playtime doable:

  • Keep it simple:Play doesn’t have to be expensive. Simple toys with fewer bells and whistles encourage more creative thinking. According to the AAP, toys that act as a framework for imagination and invention, as well as ones that bring together parents and children, have significant cognitive and developmental advantages.
  • Set a timer: Be clear with children about how much time you have to play. Then set a timer. If you have 20 minutes for playtime, set the timer for 15 minutes so you can give your child a 5-minute warning that playtime is ending.
  • Pay attention: Put everything down — including your phone — and focus exclusively on your child. You and your child will get much more out of the interaction when you’re fully present.
  • Think outside the box: Some of the best toys are things you already have on hand — pots and pans, a large cardboard box, even spatulas and rubber tongs. As kids get older, you can use household items as a form of entertainment and training (by teaching them to cook with measuring cups and spoons, vacuum and wash dishes!) The idea, of course, is to create a space for kids to take risks, experiment and test boundaries.

Taking just 15 minutes each day with your child to have open-ended, exploratory play is truly helping your child grow.


2201 Cantu Court, #117
Sarasota, FL 34232
ph: 941-552-8341
fax: 941-487-8025

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