Babies, toddlers, and even young children often learn best through play. It’s an important part of building essential developmental skills while also adding fun and joy to their lives. As children grow, they find new ways to learn, but parents can still help turn playtime into an educational experience. Here are four simple ways you can help encourage more learning during playtime.

1. Give Board Games a Try

Interactive board games are a great option for kids of a variety of ages. Even toddlers can join in on the fun when they play with a parent as a partner. Board games can teach all sorts of important skills, from math and strategy to memory and creativity. While games and apps on electronic devices can also be helpful, board games activate more areas in the brain for a better quality learning experience.

2. Take Time to Wander Outdoors

Playing outside is important for a child’s health and wellbeing. It helps strengthen bones and muscles, builds fine and gross motor skills, and also helps children develop healthy habits for a more active life. While playgrounds and outdoor games are certainly a must, you can also bump up the learning factor by giving your children a chance to slow down and wander around in nature. They can explore and experience new things to help build their curiosity while giving you both opportunities to discuss and observe science in action.

3. Model New Ideas for Creative Play

Sometimes, a new idea can spark imagination and help children foster their sense of creativity. This skill isn’t just important when it comes to the arts; it’s also essential for successful problem-solving. Model creativity and imagination for your children by giving them new ideas for roleplay games so they can keep their minds active and engaged during play.

4. Choose Toys That Require More Manipulation

These days, toys come with a lot of bells and whistles that are designed to capture and hold a child’s attention for an extended period of time. While these types of toys certainly have their place, many only encourage passive play rather than active play. Try to incorporate toys that require more manipulation than simply pushing a button and enjoying the show. Look for simple options without sounds or movement so your child has to figure out how to use them or make them work. It also opens up more opportunities for imaginative play, which can foster brain growth and development.

When it comes to raising healthy, happy, and well-adjusted children, learning is an essential component. When you find ways to make playtime just a little more educational, you can help your child develop a lifelong love for learning.