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Angus feeds dolly

Twenty month old Angus is at home being looked after by his mum. He is sitting on the floor having a snack and begins to feed the doll lying next to him. He's careful to make sure that the small bits of food go exactly where the doll's mouth is.

Good for looking at

  • Solitary symbolic play, with doll
  • Early stages of pretend play, simple pretend actions that involve other objects
  • Fine motor skills, delicate pincer grasp to pick up small objects
  • Hand eye co-ordination, making sure food gets to doll's mouth
  • Emotional development, treats doll as similar to himself, needs feeding and caring for

“Toddler time is a crucial period for the development of play. It is the time when play has the possibility to develop the features which use the rehearsal of roles, pretending, imagining and creating play props. This is all part of the symbolic explosion which occurs as the toddler turns into a talker and a player with symbols.”

Tina Bruce, Learning Through Play

  • What other kind of objects would encourage symbolic play at this age?
  • Do you think certain toys are for boys and others for girls?
  • How might an adult’s views about what each gender should play with affect their learning?