Partners in Play serves as a guide to help parents as well as teachers and daycare providers enrich playtime with one- and two-year-olds. It describes the kind of play a child can enjoy as a toddler and how an adult can enhance the play experience. The book suggests ways to play with toys that encourage a toddler's language development, promote muscle control and coordination, stimulate senses, and sharpen reasoning and problem-solving abilities all while having a good time. Also included are suggestions for varying toys as a toddler's abilities and attention span grow.
The toys described in Partners in Play are grouped into 10 categories according to their characteristics or the skills they require. A sampling of categories is pounding toys, blocks, puzzles, pegboard toys, and a toddler favorite, messy play activities. The book discusses ways to make homemade toys appealing, durable, and safe, and includes photographs to show how the finished toys should look. Also included are recommendations for materials, tools, and supplies to use in toymaking, many of them items found around the house.
The toys featured in this book are well tested. Co-author and early childhood educator Rita Anderson developed and refined them for use in the parent/child learn-through-play classes she developed and taught for over 10 years in the Chicago area.