Rennu Dhillon runs the award-winning Genius Kids, an intensive preschool program focusing on academics for kids under 5. Her new venture is Toto Station – an indoor entertainment play center and after school hub for children from ages 12 months to 10 years. Toto Station was created to encourage development in children in critical areas including personal confidence, creativity and imagination, all within a safe, clean and fun environment.
Here Rennu talks about the importance of play –
Teaching your child to play is crucial for your child’s social, emotional, physical and cognitive growth. Children need to see, feel, touch, taste, hear, imagine, daydream and create. Their body needs to learn to coordinate different thoughts and actions together, respond and react to different situations and emotions.
Initially toddlers learn play through imagination. Their play becomes more complex as they learn and understand what is happening around them. Through play they can learn independence, creativity, curiosity, and problem solving, develop feelings, values, emotions, motor and social skills. Simple actions like pretending the toy teddy bear has gotten hurt – and placing a small bandage on the teddy – this simple imaginary action can teach your child about feelings, how to respond to an injury, how to apologize or say sorry if one is responsible for someone else’s pain, and most importantly saying sorry, please and thank you.
Every stage of development in a child’s life requires different skills sets to be learned. A 3 month old needs to learn to grab, hold, feel and touch, but by 12 months they will begin to explore cause and effect e.g. hide and seek. A baby may enjoy peek-a-boo whereas as 5 year old would enjoy an obstacle race.
What types of play are best for my child?
The types of play you engage your child in depends on the stage of development. Since play is the tool your child uses to learn about the world, the skills he’s working on right now are your biggest clues to choosing the best activities. For instance, if your 3-month-old is learning how to grab objects, let him play with large soft toys. If at 12 months he’s exploring cause and effect, play a simple version of hide-and-seek under tables and chairs. Here are some ideas for the different types of play you can engage your child in.
Quiet Play involves quiet time where we look at picture books or string beads or play puzzles, on our own or with others but learn to do this quietly to develop focus and respect for others around us.
Social Play involves interacting with others with simple actions to develop smiling, looking, laughing, talking and responding to others around us.
Object Play is when we learn to use our motor skills to touch, feel, taste, push, throw, hold and grab.
Cooperative Play is when we learn to play with others e.g. passing the ball or a board game to develop etiquette and team spirit and sportsmanship.
Function Play is when we actually learn how to use things e.g. using a brush to brush our hair, or a toothbrush to brush out teeth.
Active Play involves physical exercise using our limbs e.g. running, swimming, climbing trees.
Creative Play is when we create things or make things to mimic other things e.g. make a doughnut using a round piece of cardboard and pretend to eat it. Creative play would involve painting, arts and crafts.
Role Play is when we pretend to be other people or characters e.g. playing doctor or teacher.
Whether you are a stay home parent or a working professional, we all know it is not possible to engage your child in multiple activities all in one day. Do check out Toto Station. Our motto is “Moms chill, kids thrill”.
Call 510-745-7311 or 510-713-2431 or visit www.thetotostation.com for more information.