How children learn to relate to and interact with those around them is called ‘social development’ in early childhood education. It’s safe to say this is an essential process for personal, intellectual and emotional growth. In fact, fostering social and emotional development in toddlers significantly strengthens their language and learning skills and expands their problem-solving and conflict-resolution abilities. It also builds their self-confidence and self-esteem and establishes healthy family and friendship dynamics that can last them a lifetime.
There are so many fun, imaginative, and diverse ways to incorporate social development opportunities into your child’s day and play. So here are some of the most creative, collaborative and inspiring activities and toys we’ve found that encourage and develop toddler social interaction.
Outdoor play is such an invaluable daily experience for energetic and inquisitive toddlers. Fresh air, sunshine, exercise and sensory play are already essential for our happy and healthy kids, but playing outside with child-friendly tools and gardening kits sows the seeds for significant social development growth as well.
Interacting with nature and the natural world ensures the ‘nature’ of outdoor play is always collaborative. Our budding gardeners love nothing better than getting their little hands dirty and talking about plants alongside mum or grandpa with their own First Gardening Tools set. On top of that, they can chat over chores and follow their gardening grownup with their own Action Lawn Moweror Rolly Wheel Barrow.
Role-playing with their role models allows children to explore family dynamics and keep focusing on key communication skills and meaningful social connections. But, getting into gardening also sprouts other social development opportunities. Mud kitchens, sandpits and water play with peers and siblings promote cooperative play as resources and toys likeCoconut Shell Water Scoops, or Truck Beach sets can be compared and shared. Then there are more calming and contemplative activities, such as tinker boxes like My Forest Floor set or garden additions like a Hanging Bee House, that let our toddlers develop empathy skills and share emotions and the wonder of nature together.
If the weather is unkind, the outdoors can always come indoors with multi-play play-scene toys. Offering construction skill-building, puzzle-solving and imaginative play, playscapes like this Forest Stacking Home kit or Winter Gun Trees or Water Stackertransport little adventurers to woodlands, the outback or ocean scapes for more creative interaction with the natural world. Additionally, they also lay the groundwork as valuable social and emotional development activities for our two and three-year-olds.
Assembling new play environments not only allows children to interact collaboratively and imaginatively in exploring play scene sets together, but allows them to re-enact and reimagine some of their social experiences of the adult world as well.
Imaginative play with the diverse characters and buildings from a Fire Station, Busy Village, or Pretend N Play community opens up lots of new ways for toddlers to investigate and learn about day-to-day social activities and interactions. Meanwhile, the Happy Architect dinosaur landscape, Bauspiel fairy mushroom town or Bamboo Castle set with knights offers social and emotional development play that can be out of this world!
What goes up, must come down! A fun introduction to physics, learning about opposites, practising gross motor skills and guaranteeing tons of fun are just some of the childhood benefits of physical play with the humble see-saw. However, as a social development activity for toddlers, playing on a See-Saw is a wonderful tool for promoting cooperation and collaboration.
See-saws only work with a friend and help children to learn about teamwork, taking turns and communicating. All this and more makes our favourite balance and action play equipment invaluable for promoting social development skills.
Construction blocks come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and textures, from bamboo balancing sets and natural wood blocks, or brightly-coloured acrylic cubes and Joink jointed rods and connectors, to Blockaroo foam kits and Magblox magnetic sets. From simple stacking to complex designs, construction blocks create fun and challenging social opportunities not only for our toddlers with their little friends but also with their older siblings or favourite grownups too.
Versatile and endlessly creative, building blocks and construction toys form a solid foundation for social development activities as toddlers learn how to relate to and interact with each other in sharing pieces and play spaces. Plus, they’ll naturally even begin to engage in group projects, experience team problem-solving, and maybe even work through some conflict resolution challenges too!
Shop Our Range of Social Development Products Today
As a parent, giving your toddler opportunities for social development in early childhood with fun activities and toys that encourage social interaction is essential. With our passion for promoting learning and play, you can be sure we are only too happy to help. From our diverse gardening tools and toys collection to group-play outdoor equipment like our seesaw, collaborative, imaginative play scenes and challenging construction block sets, we have an exciting range of products specifically designed to foster social and emotional development in toddlers.
Your child will love playing, creating, socialising - and discovering just how fun learning and growing can be. Check out our range of Social Development Activities for toddlers and start their journey today.