Role play is an effective way for toddlers to stretch their imaginations and begin to learn about and make sense of the world around them (Early Start Group). As a mom of three children under eight years old, I love watching as my kids begin to develop and engage in this more creative style of play. While my older kids use their imaginations to become superheroes, pilots, or doctors, my two-year-old’s first role play experience develops from imitating what she sees closer to home: her parents!
As a stay-at-home mom, my toddler’s favorite person to imitate is me! She sees me complete a variety of household jobs throughout our days together as she happily tags along from task to task. I feel like toddlerhood is a magical age where cleaning up and household jobs are approached with eagerness to help and imitate their big people. In fact, my daughter’s enthusiasm typically makes chore time more enjoyable for me as well!
The benefits of role play are plentiful! Role play aids in the natural development of skills such as language, collaboration, motor-skills, empathy, and imagination, while boosting cognitive thought and problem-solving abilities. Learning and being able to help around the house promotes self-esteem and responsibility.
My toddler loves to mimic everything she sees me do; from laundry to cleaning, completing a DIY project or working in the garden, she’s either joining in at that moment or I catch glimpses of her acting out what she has observed later on. VTech® and LeapFrog® offer fun products that make it possible for her to take on a mini-mommy role by my side throughout our day!
Come along for a look into my daily routine with my biggest little helper and learn how we turn everyday tasks into fun learning experiences!
After we drop off my older kids at school, we typically go to the grocery store and pop into the library or playground. When we get home, after a quick wave to Dad, who is mowing the lawn, she helps me unpack our grocery bags. We practice counting and sorting as she puts things away in our pantry.
After a quick snack, my mini-me and I tackle the laundry mountain. Reaching in to pull the warm clothes out of the dryer promotes gross motor development and is a sensory experience she loves! Her favorite task is digging through the basket to find all the matching socks. When she sees me pull out the ironing board, she’s quick to run and bring back her own LeapFrog® Ironing Time Learning Set™. In addition to being able to imitate what she sees me doing, the interactive iron features 10+ learning activities! Along with playing cute songs, silly phrases, and sound effects that play as she moves the motion-activated iron, little ones can turn the dials and press the buttons to learn about colors, shapes, and counting. It is adorable to see her look on as I fold the real clothes and she stacks her included play clothes in the same way!
After we finish up, we head down to the kitchen to make lunch. This is another task my toddler loves to take part in. I can always count on her to cook up something yummy in her play kitchen or pull over her stool to observe what I am doing at the counter. She tries her best to help, but we all know spills happen! Before I can even step away to get the broom for a quick clean up, she quickly runs to get her own LeapFrog® Clean Sweep Learning Caddy™. The cute little face on the interactive bucket lights up as she uses the dustpan and broom to sweep up the crumbs we dropped. As I finish making lunch, she continues to explore her singing caddy and clean up around the kitchen (a task for which I will forever welcome her enthusiasm!). She has so much fun pressing the pedal and watching the mop spin around the bucket. She also loves to dance to the music while swishing her mop around the floor. Before we eat, I grab my own cleaning supplies to join what looks like a great time! She squirts her imaginary spray bottle alongside mine while we both wipe surfaces around the house clean. Our cleaning routine really is all fun and games thanks to her friendly cleaning caddy!
When she naps, it is typically my time to try to get some DIY projects done around the house or for my blog. And because she is an older toddler and naptime doesn’t always last as long as I have planned, I keep her VTech® Drill & Learn Toolbox™ Pro nearby for her to join me when she wakes up! She mimics my actions by exploring her tools, placing a project card into the toolbox, and using her toy drill -that really spins- to explore colors and numbers.
Before we pick up the big kids from school, I try to fit in a little more play time. I have turned our attic into a play space that is primed for her early role play! She has a playhouse where I recognize familiarity in her play: an adorable mini-me who uses her VTech® and LeapFrog® toys to take care of her little home just like she saw me do earlier in the day.
The play space also includes a patch of “grass” that she loves to mow, just like she saw her dad doing earlier! She pulls the cord on her VTech® Pop & Spin Mower™ to start the engine. The blade spins and “grass cutting” beads pop as she pushes it across the green grassy rug. I love that the mower introduces lawn mower safety to little ones as well as gardening phases, colorful lights and music.
She learns so much by observing our routine and eagerly working alongside me during our day. It’s amazing to see her recall our routine later on, and watch as it inspires her play time! Role play is a way that she develops basic life skills. She learns through play as she observes our routines and engages with fun toys from VTech® and LeapFrog®that she can use to mimic my actions. I hope that she’s always this enthusiastic about being a mini-mommy - and cleaning the kitchen ;) !
Jessica Grant highlights a joyful and creative childhood, motherhood, and home through her social media and blog,JessicaEtCetera.com. With a background in preschool education and now a mom to 3 young children, Jessica enjoys sharing all kinds of fun including crafts, DIY, and learning through play with the goal of creating a magical and memorable childhood!