Play has benefits for children’s imagination, creativity, language, social and cognitive development. Most importantly, the interaction in play is extremely important for children to develop their language skills – it provides an opportunity to learn new words and sentences and practice using social language.
- Provide lots of opportunities to play with your child (reduce the amount of ‘screen-time’ on the TV and iPad).
- Engage in pretend (or imaginative) play with your child. You may need to show your child how to pretend play – such as being a doctor, playing mums and dads, pretend cooking, etc. You might need to help show your child how to think creatively and imaginatively, and model language to use while playing (e.g. “Let’s pretend we are making a cake. This stick can be our mixing spoon, and we can put leaves, sand and water in to make our cake”)
- Follow your child’s lead in play by watching to see what they are interested in – this is motivating and engaging for your child.
- Show you are interested in their play by your body language and facial expressions (e.g. lean in and smile) and make comments on what they are doing (e.g. ‘that’s a huge green dinosaur!’).
For more information and fun play activity ideas, see
The Hanen Centre® website – http://www.hanen.org/Helpful-Info/Fun-Activities.aspx
(Adapted from Hanen.org, 2015)
The Speech Pathology Team