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Your 2-year-old now
Pretend play is escalating as your child's third year goes on. A baby doll is no longer just an object to hug but a "real" person with a name, a family, and the need to be fed, bathed, and join your child at tea parties. A towel over your preschooler's back can transform her into a superhero, whose play may now involve a journey or a plot. You might even hear your child narrating her adventures while she plays.
Props help these imagination-building games, but a 2-year-old is still pretty indiscriminate about what they are. A stick is a magic wand, leaves serve as plates, and blocks can become any number of things. It's great fun to watch this creativity in action. You should also provide some toys that feed pretend play, such as simple dress-up costumes (your old shoes, scarves, a tutu) or child-size versions of your tools, such as play phones or miniature brooms. Mimicking household chores is a favorite activity at this age.
Your life now
How many activities is the right number, as your preschooler gets older and more interested in the outside world? Most child development experts recommend moderation. A 2-year-old doesn't need more than one or two organized activity outings per week, if that. Nor does she need many formal playdates. Often working parents prefer their little ones to have fairly structured days so they're not "doing nothing" all day. But at this age, free play, time hanging out with you or a caregiver, and playground outings can comfortably make up the bulk of her day. There's plenty of time down the road for academics, sports, and a busy social scene.
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