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Becoming a Magical Play Partner for your child (Part 1)

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Tips for Magical Play Partners

Always remember that your praise and attention are the most magical ingredients when becoming your child’s magical play partner.

Welcome to Part 1 of our Magical Play Partner blog series. In this article, we will talk about some tips for becoming your child’s magical play partner.

In Part 2 will talk about developing Joint Attention Skills, a fundamental building block when promoting optimal Speech, Language, Communication and Social-Emotional Development.

In Part 3 will talk about using Sensory Social Play activities to promote Speech, Language, Communication and Social-Emotional Development.

In Part 4 will talk about how Object Focused activities promote Speech, Language, Communication and Social-Emotional Development.

Playing with your child is one of the best ways to ensure early milestone development of your child’s speech, language, and communication. Engaging in playful activities with your child also has the added benefit of promoting optimal social-emotional development too!!!

Parents are best placed to become their child’s most engaging  magical play partner. To become an engaging magical play partner, think about becoming the total focus of your child’s attention. To help children learn from people, we need to focus their attention on people. We all know so well how adult social praise and attention in the early days is one of the magic ingredients when promoting speech, language, communication, and social-emotional early milestone development.  

sensory play

Have a read below are some top tips to think about when becoming your child’s magical play partner.

1. Identify your child’s favourite and preferred objects and activities.

The key is to firstly, observe your child, and notice what objects or activities interest them most. Children’s and toddler’s interests vary from minute to minute, day to day and week to week. So, think about this as an ongoing observation and identification process. When you have identified your child’s high interest and most preferred objects and activities, always be mindful of tips 2-5 below.

2. Draw Attention to your face and physical interactions.

Once you have identified your child’s favourite and preferred objects and activities, draw their attention to your eyes, face, body actions, sounds, and words. For example; if they are interested in a “cause and effect toy” ( for example; pop up toaster, musical box, jack in the box etc..),

Hold the toy close to your face, do exaggerated body actions to press the button on the toy, add in your voice and sounds gradually and gently at first so as not to overwhelm them. Don’t be afraid to be silly and use big wide eyes and lots of facial expressions.

3. Use Physical Activities during sensory-social play

If your child turns their interest to a sensory-social activity (for example peek a boo, incey wincey, spider, wheels on the bus)

Use lively and gentle physical actions at the same time, for example ;

Bouncing on knees,

Bouncing on a small therapy ball/small trampoline

Wrapping up in a small beanbag,

Pull around the room in a made -up bus (any old box will do)

4. Mirror social expressions

Any time you see your child smile or laugh, be sure to smile and laugh back using happy and fun sounds and signs.

5. Expand interests by pairing

If your child is only showing interest in a very select number of toys, objects, and activities, use these toys, objects, activities to expand their interests. This is called pairing and put very simply, all you need to do is to begin to introduce new toys objects and activities whilst playing with their favourite toys/objects when you are engaging in fun joint activities. Do this gradually and slowly and watch for their interest in the new toy or activity. When you see new interest in a new toy or activity, use the new toy, object, activity for Tips 2,3 and 4.

sensory play

The following objects and toys  can be very motivating for small children to engage with. Try and have a selection of below readily available for them to play with. As soon as you see interest, remember to incorporate Tips 2, 3 4 and 5 during magical partner playtime.


Windup Toys,









For more information on playful activities you can do with your child