Hi everyone! Today I will be talking about speech and language in children and how play encourages early language skills. I will be sharing some activities for helping your child learn to talk.
How does play help with your child’s speech?
Play is an important activity which encourages the speech and language development in a child. Children first learn what the toys are, they then develop with saying the word and then they develop more languages using that toy, for example, you give your child a toy and say what it is (doll) your child will repeat after you eventually, and eventually start to speak single wards which will then turn to two words, three words and then form sentences. ‘Baby milk’, ‘baby go bed’ etc.
Activities to encourage speech and language
One of the first things we do with our children from an early age is sing nursery rhymes. This is one of the best ways to demonstrate talk. Nursery rhymes are catchy and children will listen to you sing. Listening is important as it is the base to developing language.
Communication is key!
A lot of things which you probably do, are already helping your child learn to talk. Talking to them while changing them or feeding, even if you think they don’t understand. Name their body parts, ‘nose’, ‘feet’ ,’fingers’ etc. All of these things which may seem little are helping with your childs language.
Reading is very important. Children are learning that each picture has a word. Get picture books and look at them together, if your child is too young to talk, you can point at the pictures and name them. If your child is saying single words already. Then point at the picture and wait for your child to reply, if they don’t reply then you say the word out.
You can also point out pictures or objects around the room and say the name of the object.
You can repeat words all the time during different situations. An example would be, my daughter can now say the colours, so wherever we are in the house, we point at things and name them, when changing – ‘yellow dress’ ‘black shoes’ or when eating ‘yellow banana’. This is linking other words to objects and it encourages her to develop her vocabulary and increase her language skills.
When your child is playing, you can comment on what they are doing, for example ‘that’s a big tower’ or ‘you’re playing with the red car’, or you could join in with their play (but it’s important not to take over). It’s important to sit at your child’s level so that they can see you properly and hear you.
Use gestures when talking to your children, for example when talking about a toy, point at it so your child knows what it is. Or waving when saying hello or bye.
You should use short and simple sentences so your child truly begins to understand.
A simple activity could be getting a box of toys and take them out, one at a time. Wait for your child to name each toy, give them time to respond, if they don’t then it’s ok, you say the word for them. It’s also ok if your child doesn’t say the word properly (tat for cat) you could reply back with the correct word like ‘yes that’s a cat’ well done!
During your normal day, give your child choices so they can pick a word. For example ‘orange or banana? ‘Red or yellow’. This encourages your child to repeat the word.
Pretend play is a good activity which helps develop language skills. My daughter has a doll (which she absolutely adores) she carries this doll with her everywhere. When we’re eating, she pretends to feed her – she uses the words ‘eat’ ‘drink’ ‘spoon’ ‘milk’. When it’s time to get changed, the baby gets changed too (‘Nappy’ ‘dess’) ! This is really good for her to learn basic life skills and care for someone and also for developing language. What you could do to encourage this is join in. Just add more words – change baby clothes, give baby milk, wash face, baby go bed etc.
This is not something which you will sit down with like an activity, it can be done during your normal day to day routines.
Play games and use toys.
Simple games like ‘peek a boo’ or ‘roll the ball’ or ‘ready, steady, go’ – is teaching children to wait and listen. It is teaching them to listen and take turns and learn to speak.
So there’s a few different things which you can do and which you most likely already doing with your child to encourage them to talk.
I hope you enjoyed reading this. Please feel free to leave a comment about what your thoughts and views are. Thank you 🙂
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