Girls and boys love dolls; dolls are children’s pretend families, helping them create a make- believe world into which they can escape. While playing with dolls, your child id understanding human emotions. She will mother the doll, give it instructions, then dress it, put it to bed, and kiss it good-night. In this way your child is reenacting the things that happen to her and learning to relate them to other people. Even action dolls to get rid of feelings of aggression that might otherwise be directed against other children.
An important concept for a child to grasp is that of classification- whether things are the same or different. Farmyard animal figures can help form this idea; with a variety of sheep, horses, and chickens your child will be able to group the animals that look the same. You can help by showing her the differences and naming the animals as you put them into groups.
Children love playing with water, especially in the bath. Give your child empty plastic bottles and containers so she can create a variety of water effects. All children love blowing bubbles; put some dishwashing liquid to a cup and shape a pipe cleaner with a circle at one end. Wading pools, such as the small inflatable kind, are ideal in the summer and needn’t be expensive. Another summer game is to lay a sheet of plastic or tarpaulin on the ground and hose it with water; your child will enjoy sliding around on it.
Painting encourages your child’s creative urges. She’ll love finger painting and can produce a range of interesting prints and patterns with combs, pegs, sponges, thread spools, or cardboard tubes. Try cutting star shapes and other patterns out of pieces of potato so she can create designs. Styrofoam egg cartons or baking trays will make good palettes for the aspiring painter. Give your child thick brushes so that she sees bold results immediately. Provide pastry brushes, cotton balls, corks, straws, and pipe cleaners for variety.