While solitary play is important, it is in group play that children learn how to get along with others and how to handle conflicts. They experience group processes of thought and the give-and-take of compromising. And in that sense, play is real-life learning. It helps them get ready for the everyday experience of interacting with others.
Through interactive play they begin to learn social skills such as sharing and taking turns. They also develop the ability to collaborate on the “theme” of the play activity. The children not adults should institute play themes and structure. Adults should only intervene when children exhibit the need for coaching on social and problem solving skills.
Finally, children also like to play with adults. This can be one to one or in a group. It is important that parents spend time playing with their children. It is fun. Let the kids set the pace and become a part of their world. No need to teach or preach, just enjoy the experience.
Note: It is OK for kids to frequently engage in solitary play. However, the need to develop social and communication skills requires a balance. If a child ONLY plays by himself, it may indicate a problem. Don’t hesitate to talk to an expert such as your child’s pediatrician or teacher if you have concerns.
This activity gets the children interacting in no time!
Ask the children to sit in a circle, placing their hands behind their backs
Choose one child to be the "peanut passer." You can do this in an unbiased manner by votes or picking his name from a bag full of all the children's names
Have the 'peanut passer' go around the outside of the circle, sliding his hands through the other kid's hands until he decides to secretly pass off the peanut.
Make sure he goes around the circle one full time before passing off the peanut
Tell the kids to close their hands tightly and to keep them behind their backs, even if they don't have the peanut
Choose a child to begin guessing who has the peanut. Keep asking different people until the peanut is located.
Disclaimer: This presents an overview of child development. It is important to keep in mind that the time frames presented are averages and some children may achieve various developmental milestones earlier or later than the average but still be within the normal range of development. This information is presented to help parents understand, at a high level, what to expect from their child. Any questions/concerns you may have about your child’s development should be shared with your doctor.