Children need to play as much as possible with people who enjoy playing with them. Some of the common types of play children of all ages enjoy include:
Language Play: For a baby, this can be babbling together or playing This Little Piggy, with a toddler it can be acting out nursery rhymes like Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes. For a young child, it could be a memory game like I Spy or trying out nonsense rhymes bat, krat, splat, frat, plat, sklat…?
Creative Play: With a baby, you could blow bubbles to burst; with a toddler, it could be messing with cardboard or play dough . For a young child, it could be building a spaceship together with junk or making clothes with newspaper!
Pretend Play: You can pretend to be a cat and miaow together with a baby, while toddlers enjoy pretending to feed you, and young children love to dress up and act out all kinds of scenarios, realistic and fantastic!
Games with Rules: Babies can enjoy a game of roll the ball, toddlers enjoy games like Simon Says and young children can enjoy simple board games like Snakes and Ladders.
The Aistear website has great tip sheets with play ideas. Just remember to have fun!