- Mandi SLP
Boost Language Skills through Play: Advice for caregivers of young children.
A great way to boost language skills is naturally through play.
A child will communicate more this way and feel less pressure to “perform.” Your job while playing with your child is to EXPAND their language. For example, if your child grabs a car and attempts to make a car sound “vrrooom;” grab a car yourself and say “blue car, vroom.” You can expand and say “go blue car go!” or “wow the blue car is fast!” Asking them to repeat words usually doesn’t work, it is best to follow their lead in play. Expose them to many different types of toys such as vehicles, animals, food items, doll houses, people figurines, play phones, community helper toys, sports, crayons, and coloring books. This will help build their vocabulary across different thematic categories. Here is a little more information on how play develops: A child explores and makes sense out of their world through play. This is the natural way we stimulate language and learning.
As an infant, your child's play consists of exploration (touching things, mouthing, pulling things apart, banging things, ect..) As your child grows, (toddler) their play turns into using toys/objects for a purpose (building blocks, making a car go, hammering a plastic nail down).
The next stage is pretend play where their creativity starts to bloom (playing house, making up stories, making toys talk or animate).
Later your child's play will become rule oriented (playing a board game, learning a sport, having a tea party, ect..). Often you will find your child's play mimicking real life (playing doctor, playing kitchen with foods they eat, playing with dolls and talking to the dolls how their parents talk to them ect..).
I encourage all parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, older siblings, and friends to get down on the ground and play with your little ones!! :)