How to develop self play in toddlers

A lot of people have asked me on how did I cultivate the habit of Self play in Avisha, well it’s all the efforts that has helped.Avisha wasn’t fond of toys until she was 8 months.

We had a lot of balls for her, a lot of push and pull toys, a lot of key toys, and a lot of stacking toys but she did not show much interest in them.

After she completed a year I introduced her to board books which again she did not enjoy much but I did not force her with that, just placed it on her book shelf.

I kept rotating her toys every month i would introduce her to 2 new toys like the musical drum or some other musical toy which would gain her interest.

Slowly she developed interest in toys especially rattlers and key toys. We’d bought different key toys like an aeroplane, a fish, a snake, a car, a bike etc. All this interested her. She would go to her play area and take the toys on her own and start playing.She also developed interest in stacking toys.So by the time she was 12 months she started enjoying stacking toys and also her key toys.

After she started walking like in around 10 and a half months she started liking the push and pull toys.She still enjoyed the stacking toys and the musical toys.

Her play area Hers is a very simple play area with around 3-4 variants of toys. I have one big basket which has all her stuffed toys, 1 basket which has her big toys like balling pin, drums, musical toys, cars and balls.Apart from these two baskets we have a shelf in which there are 3 variants of toys, like 1 set of sorter, 1 pretend and play, blocks and a lot of books.I have a separate box in which her other toys are kept.We follow the 2 week rotation rule, so once in two weeks Avisha’s play area is cleant and also her toys are rotated so she doesn’t get bored of her toys and also values the toys that she has.Her books also are rotated, the board books are something which are always there, only her story books are rotated. She also has a set of flash cards out of which I’m planning to do a DIY.

Self play

1. Keep minimal toys, the child will automatically develop interest in what they have.

2. Don’t give too much attention to your child, once they are bored they will definitely get attracted towards their toys.

3. Teach the child on how to shelf back the toys right from a young age.

4. Do not force a toy on your child, if your child isn’t playing with a particular toy just leave it aside, definitely there will come an age where they will start loving that toy. I’d bought a cake set for Avisha which she did no enjoy initially but now she loves it and asks for it.

5. Cultivate the habit of reading a book in the night right from a young age, I started this for Avisha when she was 1 and a half and now at 2.3 she cries to be read a book before she sleeps, also she selects her own book and brings it to the bed.

6. Keep the play area Simple yet attractive & also Child friendly. (Make sure it is child proofed)

What are the benefits of Self play?

1. Your Toddler doesn’t have to be entertained always.

2. They become independent.

3. They get trained to fight boredom

4. Improvement in Creativity, Imagination & Self Thinking.

5. They will come up with their own pretend & plays.

6. Their interest in activities will increase.

7. You can identify on what their interested in.

What to do during this process:1. Tell the child about the toy.2. While buying the toys make the child choose.3. Appreciate and reciprocate on whatever they are trying to do.4. Answer all their questions no matter what they ask for.5. Play along.6. Occasionally join them while they are into their toys.7. Teach them shelving back the toys as well.8. Keep a watch on what they are doing atleast every 15-20 minutes.

What not to do: 1. Don’t critise, Compare & Underestimate.2. Don’t flood the play area with too many toys.3. Don’t stop them from creating a mess.4. Don’t keep toys with small particles and pieces as they are going to be alone and we might not know if they put anything into their mouth.

These were some points which Helped me introduce self Play in Avisha. Do let me know on what you think about it.

This blog post is a part of The Children’s Day Blog Train hosted by and

11 Comments Add yours

  1. Self play takes time to learn. But once understood and liked by the child, the perks are high. As a mother, I rely in self play time as breathing time. I like your thoughts shared.


  2. aditi says:

    Importance of self-play has been underestimated for years. But, I liked the way you highlighted how it can build confidence in toddlers:)


  3. It’s time consuming but very beneficial of achived. I liked your point that give less toys to kids and let them figure out. Different and good topic.


  4. Disha says:

    It is definitely beneficial if the kids learn self-play. It enhances their creativity and the imagination runs wild. 🙂


  5. aakanksha says:

    These are some really good and practical tips Dimple. Thanks for sharing. We all write so much about the emotional things related to kids bug this is what is actually most required. Practical thing… My son doesn’t play himself. I am going to try all this with him super soon.


  6. Mittali Khurana says:

    Loved it. My daughter too is indulged in self play after school and the way you talked about it’s benefits, it’s fantastic, I was not aware of some of these, thanks for enhancing my knowledge. Great post.


  7. Sweta says:

    You have mentioned very beautiful point. V are worried too much, however should sometimes leave the on their own.


  8. Rashi Roy says:

    This am sure helps in making the child more creative. Nice topic


  9. Jameela says:

    I’m yet to start self play in my little one, I’m so involved playing along with her,tat I don’t let her do it alone😂 N yea self play is important,it helps to be independent and make a choice..


  10. Pr@Gun says:

    My younger one is self player but i had noticed difference in play patterns of both my kids and few things are in there nature & behaviour too. When kids play independently they think, act, & create on their own. Nice post.


  11. Prerna Wahi says:

    It’s a known fact that kids should indulge in free play for better development. Your observations and tips are very useful. Thanks for sharing them!


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