Gosh – I love my job! It involves play, play, and more play! As Dianne Ackermann once said ‘Play is our brain’s favourite way of learning’. It may be fun but we all learn in the process.
How do children learn speech and language through play?
1. They watch
- They watch others play
- They watch your facial expressions
- They watch your mouth
- They watch your actions
- They watch you interpret and add meaning to their play
2. They listen
- They listen to your words
- They listen to your sounds
3. They explore
- They explore and start manipulating the things around them
4. They Imitate
- They will start to copy your play
- They will copy your actions
- They will copy your facial expression, words and sounds
And finally they will
5. Create and use language for purpose
TIPS to encourage Speech & Language Development through play
- Manipulate the environment in a way that encourages your child to communicate. Give him a reason to communicate. Keep play materials visible, but make sure that some highly motivating materials are out of reach!
- Follow your child’s lead during play. Join in and be a child yourself! Have fun!
- Get moving. I have found that moving, talking and interacting creates a better environment for language learning
- Don’t restrict the toys. When buying toys don’t be restricted by gender specific toys. Girls love cars and boys can enjoy baby dolls. The language opportunities that you can get from these toys are enormous so don’t be gender specific.
- The last and most important tip –— we need to be present with our child! I say ‘ we’ as in this age of technology I am also guilty of ‘multitasking’ playtime with my own kids and quickly checking an email! Put down the phone, Ipad and turn off Facebook. Give your child 100% during your playtime.