Play offers so many enjoyable opportunities to develop language. It helps children learn to think symbolically, like when they use a banana as a phone. This kind of thinking is used in language all the time and will help as they are learning to read!
Notes from Story Time Category: Playing
Using the rhyme below with your child, pretend your hands are blocks. This symbolic play promotes your child’s creativity. It also teaches them that one object can represent another object in the same way that print words stand for real objects.
I take my little wooden blocks (make fist)
And stack them one by one. (place fists over and over on top of each other)
I stack them higher, higher (raise fists, still stacking)
And when my task is done, I’ve made some big tall buildings (arms over head)
Just like they have downtown. I give a push. (jab forward with index finger)
They start to sway… (arms raised, sway body back and forth)
CRASH! (clap hands)
They all fall down! (arms fall to sides, or children fall to floor)
One benefit of playing make-believe at home (besides being so fun) is that it encourages vocabulary and language development. The cool characters and settings that we see so often in picture books, such as With Any Luck, I’ll Drive a Drive, can inspire new ideas for playtime. Are you ready to be a construction worker or a fire fighter?
Play gives you and your children lots of opportunities to pretend. Pretend to be monsters as you recite the following rhyme. Remember children learn best by doing so acting out the meaning of words while you are playing will help your child remember new vocabulary.
Monsters galore, can you roar? (Roar)
Monsters galore, can you soar? (Flying motions)
Monsters galore, please shut the door. (Clap)
Monsters galore, fall on the floor! (Sit/fall down)
Play offers many enjoyable opportunities to develop language. The most critical aspect of play as it relates to language is that children learn to think symbolically. Play is not just fun. It is also how children learn and understand new concepts and ideas.