Defining your toddlers 5 types of play

As a parent or educator by understanding that if you are encouraging play you are supporting every aspect of your toddlers growth and development.

You are helping to build new physical, emotional, social, language and cognitive skills.

Different types of play have different roles in child development.

There are 5 types of play that your child will engage in :


Let us break these down to understand them further.

  • Solitary Play: This is when your toddler plays alone. All children like solitary play at times.
  • Parallel Play: This is when your toddler plays beside another child without interacting. Your toddler will observe the other child and often imitate what they do. Toddlers enjoy parallel play.
  • Imitative Play: This is when your toddler and another child copy each other’s actions, words or behaviour.
  • Social Play: This is the first step toward having fun with others. Before the age of 2 years, your toddler will offer toys to other children. This is your toddler’s way of communicating.
  • Cooperative Play: As your toddler gets older,they start to play with other children. Many toddlers are not ready for this kind of play until they are 3 years old.

I think Jean Piaget said it best when he said …..


Mommy bear … EST 1992

It was 25 years ago ….

I was a single teenage mom navigating my way in an adult world, trying deseperatly to soak up enough knowledge to raise this beautiful little girl who had turned my world upside down.

I was 19 years old in this photo. Tammi was 20 months old. It was Christmas eve.

My father and stepmother were drunk.

I had popped enough popcorn for an entire army and my sister, step brother, little girl and I strung the popcorn for the Christmas tree.

We coloured in and made Christmas cards.

That year her big gift was a baby doll from Santa. She got some plastic high heels from me and I wrapped a story book and wrote ” with love daddy “.

Daddy never knew… he was too busy enjoying his youth and avoiding his responsibilities.

I worked 2 full time jobs and waitressed or did promotions after hours to support my child. I was a youth leader, taught Sunday school each Sunday and served as a volunteer at a soup kitchen once a week.

On Sundays (my only day off) we caught a bus and went to flea markets, museums, a park or to feed the pigeons.

Each night we read beautiful stories from the library and every day I felt I was faking this parenting gig. I was clueless and lost. Overwealmed and not sure what it was a good mom did.

So, I did the only thing I knew how to do ….

I became the mother I wished I’d had and I loved my child .

Mom’s there is never a right time to have a child. No one , not even a parenting expert , has all the answers. We all feel like we’ve failed our children but the truth is your child just needs you ….. exactly as you are ❤

Single father’s in South Africa

My eldest son is currently in a situation where he finds himself about to become a first time father at 23.

Whilst I’m certainly not ready to become a Glam-ma, I owe it to my son to guide and support him.

How do you support an unplanned pregnancy.

Carefully …

In this case the young girl is 18 and just finished school. As a teen mom myself I know all too well the challenges that she will face along the way.

As a mom who raised her children alone and divorced I’m also aware of the delicate situation this poor baby is being born into and the amount of maturity, co-parenting and support both future mom and dad will need.

Whilst there is not much that you can do to change a situation other than accept it and weather the new territory one step at a time you can do the following:

  • You can refrain from voicing too strong an opinion. This decision is between the mom and dad . It is more difficult to guide than to discipline but the parents will need to work together for the sake of their child.
  • You can offer your advise and discuss all options available to both parents. Alternatively You could contact and arrange counselling or mediation for the new parents.
  • You can accept that you play a role in guiding your child into a daunting new chapter of their lives and offer the support they need regardless of how you feel towards the other parent.
  • You can prepare your family for the arrival of a brand new member to love and enjoy. Encouraging both parents to equally be involved in this journey.

It is often easier for a man to put out of his mind the pregnancy , especially if he is not living with the babies mother. He should be encouraged to prepare for baby, plan, discuss his thoughts, read up about pregnancy, support the mother emotionally and attend Dr and antenatal visits.

You could start a scan album for the dad to be to keep his first photos in , throw him a nappy braai, buy him some baby books to read and ask often how he is feeling as you assist with baby shopping .

What are single dad’s rights in South Africa?

According to the South Africa’s Children’s Act a child born out of wedlock is a child whose natural parents were not married to each other at the time of such child’s conception or at any time thereafter.


  • A court may on application by the natural father of a child born out of wedlock make an order granting the natural father access rights to or custody or guardianship of the child on the conditions determined by the court. An application will be granted should the court be satisfied that it’s in the best interest of the child.

Section 19 of the Children’s Act 38 of 2005 states:

  • A mother, whether married or unmarried, has full rights and responsibilities towards her child, but a married father also has full rights and responsibilities.
  • An unmarried biological father will only have automatic parental rights if he is living with the mother in a permanent life partnership (and consents to being identified as the father).
  • Fathers who are in a cohabitation relationship with the mother to have an inherent right to contact, care and guardianship.

Therefore the biological father does not have any automatic parental rights unless he was in a relationship with the mother. He has the option to apply under section 2(1) of the Natural Fathers Born Out of Wedlock Act 86 of 1987 for access rights to or custody or guardianship of the child.

Important information for single fathers

  • Does the biological unmarried father have to pay maintenance:

Yes it is his duty to maintain his child

  • Does an unmarried father need to be considered for important decisions:

Yes – when it comes to:

    • Passport application for the child
    • Adoption of the child by another person
    • Removal of the child from South Africa
    • If the child wants to get married

Up until the Children’s Act was enforced, the law favoured the mother as the parent who would be given the care and custody of minor children. That situation has since been drastically changed. The court is now required by law to look at what is in the best interests of the child, rather than look at favouring a mother or father as the custodial parent.

Most importantly it is never easy being a first time parent and your son will need your wisdom, support and love as he prepares for a new life.

Bears first toys & fun ideas to stimulate your baby at home

These were Little bears first toys.

Mammas you do not need expensive items to entertain baby.

The wooden bunnies were made by my friend Karolien at and I painted them using nail polish . I used them to help him focus and do tracking with his eyes.

The plastic containers, I would put beans, ect in to make different sounds. I shook these for him to hear.

We placed all the items into the gift bag as storage and pointed out the bright items on the bag to bear as we spoke during the day.

The washing machine I made from an old mug box by cutting a hole in the centre and drawing on the details. I would place various tactile materials inside for him to pull out.

The finger puppet fitted over bears hand and I would place it on his hand or foot for body awareness and to get him to grasp at it and cross the midline.

Those first 1000 days are the most important and one of my peeves at having worked in several daycares, is how the school owners feel babies do not need as much stimulation as older children .

Today I’m sharing just a few of the items bear and i did together in his early months …

Shaving cream

This is one of my all time favourite go to sensory activities and even my age 4/5 year old class enjoyed writing and playing in the shaving cream.

You can colour the shaving cream with a dash of food colouring .

Best of all if you spray into a cupcake tray , put a different colour into each cup, mix and leave in the fridge till bath time you have awesome bath paints. My older bears loved these.

Little bears reaction to the shaving cream was delightful. He was 4 months old here and loved mooooshing the cream over the tray.

And …no mess!

Just dump in bath 😛

For bath fun I love the bath foam which is the same as coloured shaving cream. Too much fun in a can.


Items as simple as a serviettes can keep babies entertained and are great for tactile discovery.

Just watch how quick those little hands can get to the mouth …

Bubble wrap

Another one of my favourites.

Little bear squished it in his chubby fingers, walked on it, rolled on it, crawled on it and I sat him in it, in his pool.

Obviously never leave baby alone with plastic of any kind. And watch items near babies mouth.

Crawling tunnels

One of our favourite items when little bear was crawling was his tunnel.

When my other bears were babies my budget didn’t allow for such fancy items and we made tunnels from empty boxes, chairs lined up and under beds.

Crawling obstacles were placed within reach to encourage movement and develop those gross motor skills.


Baking is one of the activities little bear and I enjoy together.

You can bake from young.

Even at just a few months he enjoyed tasting the dough, squishing it in his fingers and slamming rollers and cutters onto the dough.

As he’s gotten older he now helps add ingreadience to a bowl, place decorations on and has more control over the roller and cutters.

How cute is his chef hat from Theresa at ?


Oh how much fun was Little bears first sandy day at the beach?

Sand is a wonderful medium to explore.

As I was stuck inside with a broken leg for most of bears early months we used kinetic sand from on a tray to play with often.

Garden sand is his favourite and he loves the feel of squishy mud between his fingers as he drags his bulldozers through it.

We’ve tried to build sand castles on the beach but up until now my OCD builds the castle and bears Toddler curiosity crushes it 😂

Did you know preschools steralise their sandpit sand with coarse salt. It keeps it free of worms and fleas.

If you have pets always keep your sandpit covered.


Water play can be just as exciting to explore as sand and again you don’t need any expensive water tables.

A large container with a bit of water, a small blow up pool or a plastic shell will do.

You could even put baby in the bath.

Boats, bath toys and kitchen odds make the best experimenting tools.

You can colour the water with a drop of food colouring or use angel powder.

A bit of bubble bath, shower gel or shampoo makes amazing bubbles.

Alternatively if your toddler is older you can give them a hand whisk and get them beating that water to make the bubbles …

Ball pitt

A ball pit can be tremendous fun at any age .

We turned a mini blow up pool into bears first ball pit.

He would sit and play like that for a few minutes at a time and soon learnt to throw them out .


Who doesn’t love bubbles?

I collected some of Kikis bath bubbles and placed them in a container for little bear to explore. He enjoyed feeling the bubbles on his hands and feet.

So much fun in a box.

Balloon play

This is still one of little bears favourites.

I started by tying a balloon to his car chair or pram for him to watch.

As he began to sit and crawl I would blow up several and place them all around him to bop at and try catch.

Now that he is older we can throw them to him and he kicks them.

Bring nature inside

As I mentioned I was stuck with a heavy cast and moonboot for most of little bears early months and so i would often get one of my older bears to find me leaves, flowers, bark, stones, shells and other pieces of nature for bear to explore.

Sensory pools

These really can be made with any container large enough for baby to sit in.

I filled Little bears blow up pool with a variety of different items and hid toys and small things in between for him to discover.

This one I used packaging pellets but you can use :


Cut up pool noodles
Cooked noodles
Dry noodles


I introduced Little bear to paint at a very young age and it’s one of his go to activities.

It’s possible to let your child paint from 4/5 month old with help. You guide their hand and then watch as they learn to swipe the paper themselves.

If you are worried about mess mix a little dish liquid into your finger or poster paints , it helps it wash out faster.

Or you can make your own paint by mixing either flour or cornflour with a drop of colour and a small bit of Water till you have the consistency you need.

He has his own style and will paint anything in front of him.

This box was from his kit and he had not finished painting yet so the box was his next project 😂🤣

Discovery boxes

I feature my discovery boxes often because I feel it’s important to place a child in an environment that fosters learning and discovery.

The box is an old train box but you could use a tray, shoe box, cupcake tray or printers tray.

Chose a theme

For this box we used a baking theme

Fill the box with items related to that theme and step back allowing your child to explore and discover each item for as long or short a period as they like.

This was my saving grace over the December holidays and kept bear busy enough for me to get some work done.

And always end with lots of mamma hugs and kisses

Oh my goodness yogurt

The infamous Gordon Ramsay and his daughter Matilda have developed a healthy range of children’s meals exclusively for Checkers.

A full range of meals and snacks to keep your growing children healthy.

With no added MSG, artificial sweetners,colours or flavours you can conveniently prepare a meal or pack a healthy snack secure in the knowledge that your child is getting all of the goodness and none of the junk.

Little bear takes 2 yogurt to school daily and the Oh my goodness range is one of his favourites.

Made from full cream milk, real fruit and vegetables and NO artificial colours and flavourants.

Each pack contains

  • Strawberry & beetroot
  • Banana & sweet potato
  • Peach and pumpkin

The perfect way to disguise veggies from a picky eater.

Little Bears favourite is the strawberry and beetroot. ( mamma quite likes it too )

So, take the thinking out of shopping and treat your children to some healthy meals and snacks on the go.

For more information

Tree of life App

Have you ever heard of a “brelfie”?


A BRELFIE is a selfie chosen to make breastfeeding even more beautiful than what it already is.

How does it work ?

The app allows you to add a magical Tree of Life to their pictures, and the effect is nothing short of stunning.

You can either download pictures from the internet or use the app’s Tree of Life sticker pack.

You can also add other magical effects.

How to use the App

Moms have been sharing their BRELFIES on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter with the hashtags.



Why share this ?

Moms are sharing not only to highlight the beauty of breastfeeding but also to reduce the outdated stigma of breastfeeding in public.