Pablo Neruda once wrote: “A child who does not play is not a child.” More and more, parents are realizing the shortcomings of a generation that devotes too little time to play. And pediatricians now actively recommend play as an important component of healthy brain development. But kicking the ball in the yard isn’t the only thing that counts as a game. Here are 6 game types recommended by American sociologist Mildred Parthen Newhall:

Unoccupied game

Parthen defined this as the age of a child not involved in play. In the first year of life, a baby instinctively moves his body, at the same time entertaining and knowing himself. This is the simplest kind of game: your child can think, move and imagine freely. The whole world is new to him, so when you think about playing with a baby, don’t worry about organizing anything. Even the smallest object is surprising if it has never seen anything like it before. Choose something with a lot of textures and colors, and avoid bright lights or unexpected noises as these can scare your little one

Solo or solo play

This is the age when your child plays alone, with little or no regard for what other children or adults are doing. In fact, this play can be as active or quiet as your child’s temperament requires. By about their first birthday, babies begin to play on their own. This is an incredibly important step. As many adults know, you cannot properly bond with new people if you are uncomfortable alone. If you start encouraging this behavior at a young age, it will definitely make his life easier, and the ability to be content with his own society will serve them well in the future. If they choose this game, finding sticks for a walk or quietly reading a book, that is entirely their business.

Play with an outside observer

This is when your child watches other children play, but does not play himself. Most of this play scene is inactive, but still important. Learning to play with other children is very important to school and beyond. This is your child’s first stop in learning. Of course, this is not limited to other children – he happily watches adults. Show your little one what you love to do, be it gardening, playing a musical instrument, or puzzles. Take your toddler to a local park and let them watch the kids play in the sandpit, even if the kid doesn’t want to leave you to join them. This is an ideal enclosed space for young children to watch others and see them play. If your child has siblings, encourage the toddlers to observe the movements of their elders.

Parallel play

Although they may share the same toys, your child is playing alongside and not with other children. Remember that learning to play is learning to communicate with others. In this sense, parallel play is the last stage where your child connects with another. Toys that can be easily shared are ideal, as babies often have breakdowns during this period because of “this is mine, not his.” Remember that ideal toys are not only shatterproof but also easy to clean – he will still lug them into his mouth.

Associative play

At around age 3, your preschooler will pay more attention and truly enjoy social interaction with other kids like never before. Now is a great time to add more art supplies to your child’s playroom. By the age of 3, babies usually become more capable of handling small toys and can be trusted to play on their own with construction sets.

Play together

Here you can see the beginning of a joint game with others for a common goal. In terms of play goals, this is the final stage of development, because the same basic principle works, whether you are doing a school project, putting on a play, or playing sports. A child who can be involved in a joint play will cope with lessons and interactions with the class. Communication lays the foundation for lifelong social success. This is an incredibly exciting step for every family.