Play TimeProviding a wide range of play opportunities supports language development. Children learn more when they are engaged in activities that interest them. Having fun with them is a great way to make sure they’re ready to Talk by 2 and Beyond! Here are some simple tips to ensure children are getting the most out of play.
“Play is a means to early learning that capitalizes children’s natural curiosity and exuberances.” ELECT Framework, Principle 5.Babies play by using all their senses to explore objects. This helps them learn the names for things and how things work. Toddlers begin to imitate the adults around them and pretend play emerges. Preschoolers play cooperatively with their peers and their play becomes more complex. To stimulate language in play:
- Let the children lead the play where ever possible.
- Offer different sensory activities. Children can learn descriptive vocabulary and concepts from playing with sand, water and other textures.
- Provide blocks and manipulative activities to demonstrate cause and effect, spatial concepts and problem solving.
- Encourage dramatic play. Storytelling, role playing and pretending allows children to practice language skills.
- Incorporate familiar items such as pictures of family members, objects from home and elements of nature. (example kitchen whips, pine cones, seashells)
- Make activity centres literacy-rich by labelling furniture and materials and by including books, magazines, flyers and writing materials.
- Join in the children’s play and help them think of new possibilities by making suggestions or asking questions.
- Play cooperative games that involve gestures, social skills and taking turns.
- Provide a balance of child and adult directed play.
- Be playful and creative! Children will follow your lead.