Suitable space, safe space, private space.

A reasonable length of time in which they are allowed to play without interruption, which will need to be increased as they grow older.

Someone to play with. At first this is usually their mother and other family members but at about three they need proper playmates of a similar age and stage of development.

Before this they need to get used to just being with other children -try clinics, parks, One O’Clock Clubs, Mother and Toddler Clubs as well as neighbours’ children.

Nursery groups should be marvellous places for three years and older children – but make sure they are before deciding to take children there.

But needs to be fun for its own sake or children opt out.

Suitable play material is needed for every stage and may be bought, made or improvised. The expensive toy is not always the most valuable for a child.

Play includes exploring, developing skill, control and coordination, creating, imaginative play, adventure play, developing pre-learning skills, language and communication.

Adults must be very careful of the role they take in children’s play. Help can so easily become interference.

It needs to be well thought out and properly used. Sometimes adapted and improvised storage space is more useful and convenient than commercially produced units.

Really watching children play is fascinating. We can learn a great deal about our children from this. 3