Play - Better Lives Healthy Futures


Age group:
Play is not just fun, it helps young children to learn.
Dad playing with baby

Through play children develop lots of skills including speech, language, problem solving, social skills, managing their emotions, responding to different situations, being creative and learning new things. It’s an important building block for learning as they grow up.

Play can be indoors or outdoors, part of a group or alone, planned or unplanned, with lots of toys or a few simple safe items like a box and plastic cup. Play can be part of everyday activities such as bath time or a walk to the shop.

Play uses all the senses, for example as your eight-month-old baby starts to explore;

  • Touching different surfaces.
  • Tasting different foods.
  • Seeing different things.
  • Hearing different sounds.
  • Smelling different things.

It’s important as a parent or carer to give time and attention to children to help them learn to play, use their imagination, develop skills and learn about sharing.

If you live in Bradford you might have heard about the 50 things to do before you’re 5 and have been given a set of cards?

If you live outside the Bradford district, it’s still worth looking at the activities on 50 Things. Some are quite local examples (like visiting Bradford museums for #40 Happy History) but the basic idea is still relevant wherever you are.

The aim is to give every child the best chance to develop and learn, so the activities on the cards are for you to try with your child, following the instructions. These are fun things to help your child develop their confidence, their speech and language, and be ready to learn as they start school. You can download the app and build a memory bank of the fun things you have done together.

blue-bird green-bird orange-bird pink-bird

Further information

Hungry Little Minds

Inspiration and simple, fun activities for newborns to age five, including how to play with your baby.

Book Trust

If you live in Bradford, at your child’s 9-12 month review you’ll receive a book start bag for you and your child to enjoy together.

50 things to do before you're five

Aimed at giving every child the best chance to develop and learn, these activities will help your child develop their confidence, their speech and language, and be ready to learn as they start school.

Keeping kids active

Playing can be a great opportunity to keep your baby active. This site has lots of other ideas and ways to stay active, starting from when your child is first born.

Change4Life activities

Kids need to be active for 60 minutes a day and toddlers can join in with these ideas and games – try the Disney sports quiz!

Better Start Bradford

Better Start Bradford works with families to give children the best possible start in life in Bowling and Bakerend, Bradford Moor and Little Horton. Their innovative projects can support you through pregnancy and the earliest years of your children’s lives.

Physical activity for early years

Active children are healthy, happy, school ready and sleep better. These ideas will help your kids get strong and be more active.

Helping your child's speech

From when your baby is born you can help them to learn to talk. This website has lots of tips and advice to help with your baby's speech.

Talking Point

Talking Point provides useful information on children's communication from 0 right through to 17 years.

Tiny Happy People

Tiny Happy People This BBC website will help you develop your child's communication skills using simple fun, free activities and play ideas. There are also tips and advice from experts and parents on language learning and child development.

Related topics


There’s lots of research that shows the amazing speed a baby’s brain is developing.
Age group:


Don’t forget the importance of safety which means seeing everything at your child’s level, giving them age appropriate toys, supervising them, removing dangers and items that could cause harm.
Age group:

Parent infant relationship

Your relationship with your baby starts much earlier than the first time you meet them.
Age group: