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Playtime for Children With Cognitive Delays

Play Tips: Ages 3 to 6

At age 3 and above, a child’s imagination grows stronger, says Pratola. Therefore, she encourages parents to continue encouraging their children to participate in role-playing activities.

These years are the perfect time to add expressive activities to your child’s playtime, such as arts and crafts. You want your child with cognitive delays to enjoy the same kind of coloring and painting experiences as other children, Pratola emphasizes. But,you may need to adapt the materials to suit your child’s need, like swapping out crayons for finger paints.

During these years children are learning to play well with each other. So doing puzzles may be a good option, Cox says, making sure they are learning to take turns with you or their playmates.

Since children in this age range may be starting school or preschool programs, Davitt encourages parents to remember the fatigue factor. "If they’ve had to be 'on' all day at school the play when they get home might have to be more relaxed."

Be sure to support their school activities at home, asking both teachers and therapists for advice on the best ways to do so. If your child, for instance, needs help learning how to dress himself, you might offer him a doll and ask him to dress it – not in a graded or performance-focused way, but in a fun way.

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Reviewed on October 14, 2010

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