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In it to win it Play

Embracing Competition for Growth


Competitive play teaches kids about the real world.

In it to Win it Play Ideas

Activity IdeasDevelopmental Skill
Lego Building Competition | Giant Obstacle Course | Race you to the… | HopscotchFairness and honestyRead more
Go Fish | Snakes and LaddersRecognition of effortRead more

Mornings with a toddler are pure chaos, especially when time is scarce and they seem to move at the most glacial pace. Ever found yourself saying “who can sit in their car seat first” or “first one to pop their shoes on is a winner”? These are classic examples of how incorporating a bit of friendly competition in a household can be beneficial for the entire family.

By their very nature, children are drawn to challenges. You might observe your toddler confidently asserting “I can do this” or resisting help, even when struggling to peel a banana for a (very) extended period. This desire for self-sufficiency is a key factor in their cognitive development.

In it to Win Play, otherwise known as competitive play, helps kids learn to develop a deep emotional intelligence. It may not feel like a priority now,, but life is built on ethics and fairness, and being able to instil these real world learnings with kids is a crucial task… From fairness and boundaries, to self recognition and problem solving – read along to learn how games with a competitive nature support healthy development.

Fairness and truth

Send your kids to ‘Fairness School’ with Competitive Play, a school where everyone plays by the same rules and gets an equal chance to shine. But it’s not just about the rules – it’s also about keeping it real. Toddlers will quickly figure out that cheating spoils the fun for everyone. With a bit of help and guidance, they’ll see that being honest, whether they win or lose, is what makes them champions. The sense of accomplishment rings so much louder.  

Toddler Activity Ideas

Lego Building Competition

Building worlds with Lego takes perseverance and also is fun for the whole family.

Giant Obstacle Course

Create a giant obstacle course in your home - whoever wins and finishes out the entire route is the winner.

Race you to the…

Anything can be a race, getting into the car, popping your shoes on - these are helpful too.


Some games are classic for a reason. Draw a chalk checkerboard on your front driveway.

Ever played the Clean-Up Competition? Make chore time fun by turning it into a race to see who can clean the mess from the floor first. Not only do you get a clean house and chores done, but this game also instils a sense of accomplishment in your child once completed. Sit back and watch it play out to your advantage.

Recognition of Effort

Engaging in competitive play allows kids to recognise the value of effort and persistence. Competitive play presents all types of challenges and obstacles that they must overcome to succeed. When adults acknowledge and praise their kids’ determination and hard work, toddlers learn that their efforts are worthy of recognition, regardless of the outcome. This recognition bolsters self-esteem and motivates them to continue trying their best in future endeavours. 

Toddler Activity Ideas

Go Fish

Car games are great competitive games where following through with the rules can help with recognition.

Snakes and Ladders

A timeless game that helps toddlers engage their left-brain thinking and promotes healthy competition.

More to discover

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Quality time nurtures confident kids.

Genevieve Muir discusses how just 9 mins make a difference. Dive into present to nurture kids’ emotional safety through play.

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Embrace the chaos – embrace the mess.

Genevieve Muir discusses how messy play teaches kids resilience, unlocks imagination and helps you let go…

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Toddler Tumbles

Genevieve Muir discusses how unlock Emotional Growth through physical play benefits toddlers.

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