K27-E Learning to Play


Attachment Attachment is a powerful, emotional relationship that develops between children and the important caregivers in their lives. Children can develop secure or insecure attachments with their caregivers.

Child-lead play Play is led by the child when he explores the world around him with the active presence of his parents or caregiver.

Cue A cue is a signal to indicate what the child wants or needs at that moment. Cues are not words, but other ways of communicating, such as behaviour (e.g., fidgeting), body language (e.g., yawning), facial expressions (e.g., smiling), and sounds (e.g., crying).

Immunization Immunizations help a person’s immune system fight a disease such as measles or the flu that can be caught from others. From the age of two months, children in Ontario receive a number of immunizations to prevent them from getting diseases that can make them sick or cause long-term problems.

Large muscle skills The ability to use the large muscles of the body in order to stand up, walk, run, pull, push, and balance.

Language skills These skills include speaking, listening, reading, and writing.

Literacy skills These skills enable a child to read and write. Scribbling, drawing, looking at books, and pretend reading are also called pre-literacy skills.

Quiet time Time that children spend each day in quiet play, usually at the same time each day. They may not need a nap, just some quiet time to play with quiet toys or look at books.

Resilience Resilience is the ability to steer through serious life challenges and find ways to bounce back and to thrive.

Self-regulation Self-regulation is how we adjust our feelings, actions, attention, thoughts and bodies so that we can handle different situations without getting overwhelmed. Children learn to self-regulate through their daily interactions with caring adults.

Self-help skills There are five major types of self-help skills: eating, dressing, grooming, toileting, and household skills (e.g., putting toys away or opening and closing a door).

Small muscle skills These are skills that involve the use of the small muscles of the hand, fingers, and thumb, usually in coordination with the eyes (e.g., grasp a rattle, hold a pencil, or pick up objects).

Social skills These are skills which enable children to interact and communicate with other people. Social skills consist of behaviours that people learn in order to get along with others.


The Best Start Resource Center thanks staff from the following organizations for their help to
develop this guide:

  • Canadian Child Care Federation
  • Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit
  • George Brown College
  • Halton Our Kids Network
  • Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit
  • Northwestern Health Unit
  • Nutrition Resource Centre
  • Ophea
  • Peel District School Board
  • University of Guelph

We would also like to thank the parents and the experts who helped to review and finalize this guide.

We would also like to thank the following people who helped revise this guide:

  • Consultant – Kim Tyler, Ottawa, Ontario
  • Ontario Ministry of Education
  • Ontario Dental Association
  • Ontario Association of Optometrists
  • Ontario Public Health Association, Nutrition Resource Centre
  • Ontario Society of Nutrition Professionals in Public Health (OSNPPH)
  • Pinecrest-Queensway Community Health Centre: Specialized Preschool Programs
  • School of Health Sciences, Humber College




This document has been prepared with funds provided by the Government of Ontario. The information herein reflects the views of the authors and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Government of Ontario. The resources and programs cited throughout this guide are not necessarily endorsed by the Best Start by Health Nexus Resource Center or the Government of Ontario.