Toddlers Centered by Solitary Play
by Sara Gilliam, Nature Explore Consultant
Sometimes, we just want to be alone. That’s as true for toddlers as it is for adults.
“Solitary play is very common in this age group,” said Katie Dietz, toddler teacher at Dimensions Early Education Programs. “They are progressing from parallel play to learning how to play with each other. This especially happens when we’re outside. They’ll run together, and enjoy having more freedom to explore. But sometimes, they just want some quiet time by themselves for a few minutes.”
On a June morning, one child chooses to play alone in the sandbox. On the other side of the Nature Explore outdoor classroom, one of Katie’s youngest students sits quietly on a bench surrounded by flowers. Both appear contemplative yet engaged with their surroundings. A while later, a boy who has spent the morning enthusiastically interacting with his peers spends solo some time digging in mulch with a toy excavator.
Eventually, all three return to playing with their peers, most likely refreshed and centered by their quiet solitary time.