Hands up who remembers running around the playground with just one toggle of your duffle coat done up, pretending to be a superhero?
Now, who wishes they still could get away with it?!
I, for one, would love to and I do! Granted, I do have my own two small children to give me an excuse, but it is so very liberating (not to mention I've probably burned loads of calories running round in the freezing cold this Easter so feel fine to have another one of those Easter eggs!!).
SPEECH THROUGH PLAY
So much of speech and language is learned through play. Obvious, once you think of it, isn't it? Little minds are programmed to learn through experience. When we're at the park, or even when we're at home, we might see or hear an aeroplane and then race around trying to catch each other. Add in vocabulary like "plane", "fast", "zoom", "sky", "high", "look" (I could go on...) and you can see how many new words your little one can learn in a quick 5 mins of excitement.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
Your little one won't mind if you haven't found the picture cards which match the topic. They won't notice if you make a mistake, and you won't notice if they get the answer or the pronunciation a bit muddled. Just use one or two words for everything you want to tell/ teach them and you've got it. I am talking about those children whose language is at the two word level or below, or those who are developing at around the 18month stage.
Of course, you don't have to be outdoors and running around to introduce language through play. You could just as easily be lying on the floor with your child who perhaps doesn't walk. Or, have them on you lap helping by holding their arms to make the actions and model the sounds required within the game.
Some favourite games in our house are pretending to be animals and nibbling at imaginary bones; making cups of tea with or without utensils; rescuing each other onto the sofa boats from crocodiles living in the rug swamp!
THE SOUND OF IT
Remember to include some exciting phrases such as "uh-oh" and "where are you?" Which have great sing-song intonation. Some children who find it hard to learn language, might find the tuneful pattern easier to copy rather than the specifics involved in pronouncing the words correctly. These phrases are also very exciting and motivating.
This post is my first on play, I am planning on covering more ideas for playing with children who have a range of impairments such as hearing, visual, and physical. If you would like to hear about those, leave me a comment below!