DIR/Floor Time Play Blog

Tips for playing with your kids who are 5 and under based on the DIR/Floor Time Model

  1. Follow your child’s lead
    • This is the best starting place for interacting with your kids!
    • Following your child’s lead gives you insight into your child’s interests, what brings them joy and what is meaningful to them. If we follow the child’s lead, we can start on their level and then playfully, respectfully and joyfully build their play skills and ideas from there

  2. Join your child’s world, then pull them into a shared world to build their interactions and play
    • By starting with respecting your child’s motivations you have now been able to peak your child’s interest and using that interest you can pull your child into a shared world where you are interacting and playing together
    • Being in a shared world and interacting together you are able to more readily support your child to
      • Learn to focus and attend
      • Learn to take initiative
      • Learn to have empathy
      • Learn to have back and forth communication through gestures and words
      • Learn to be creative
      • Learn to problem solve

  3. How do we practically put these 2 together?
    • If your child is spinning around and around in a circle, join them! Then build a shared world by playfully stopping them in front of your face, engaging in eye contact and laughter, then continue spinning and playfully stopping them
    • If your child is pushing cars around on a track, join them with another car! Then create a shared world and shared experience through doing a new action with the car, crash the car using silly loud sounds or make it jump over the track, extending their play ideas, tolerance of others and shared interactions
    • If your child is having tummy time and manipulating toys in front of them join them on the floor! Start by manipulating the object (soft toy, block, mirror etc) they are looking at, using lots of fun and silly sounds whilst playing. Then hide an object and return it with a big surprised sound to encourage joint attention and a shared experience


  • The first point of call is to use your child’s interest and follow their lead. Be mindful that a part of entering your child’s world is tuning into their pleasures, joys, challenges, personality and differences and accepting their choice of play
  • We want to make sure the experience is full of joy and pleasure for both parties. If the play experiences in becoming stressful, consider taking a break and evaluating why the play experience in no longer being fruitful
  • Encourage a shared world by adding to your child’s interest and by using a high affect i.e. big facial expressions, noises, sounds effects and actions to peak their interest and engagement


  2. What is Floortime?
  3. DIR Floortime courses

The DIR/Floortime model has identified 9 development capacities that children need to master in order to have the right building blocks of play skills and to not push your child outside of their developmental capacity. If you would like to know more about these capacities, please refer to the references above.