Speech Pathology News: Play

Although the current requirement for social distancing has some challenges, hopefully one of the positives is families can enjoy more time together without the usual rush. This is a perfect time to continue to support your child’s language development by joining in with their play. Sometimes play is seen as what children do as a break from learning, but the reality is play provides a context for powerful learning, especially language, but with the added benefit of it is fun and enjoyable too.

You can make play with almost anything. Try pretend cooking with some pots and pans from the kitchen or a pretend tea party with plastic cups and plates. If your child has access to blocks, cars or dolls then try pretending or building with these things. You could build a cubbyhouse using blankets, sheets and towels over tables and chairs. You can also build things with items from your recycling bin or go into the garden and play in the sand.

Sometimes as adults we can feel a little silly playing, so start simple and let your child show the way. Let your child play, observe what they do, comment on what they are doing (e.g. you are building a big tower or the car is racing along the track. Or your baby is hungry so you are feeding her.) then join in by copying what your child is doing (i.e. build your own tower, get another car and race it). As you and your child become comfortable with each other you can add ideas or make suggestions (e.g. Oh no my car crashed. What will we do? Oh no my tower fell down help me build it again. I think the baby is tired I will make a bed for him. How about we build a farm. This can be the bed). No matter what you do when you play the most important thing is to have fun and show you are enjoying it. Your child will just enjoy being in the moment with you and there will be opportunities to talk which builds language.