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.
Playing matching games helps children see what is alike and different in objects and letters. Take Me Out to the Yakyuby Aaron Meshon shows the differences in baseball in two cultures. As you read this book, talk about the differences in each picture. This will help your child learn new vocabulary as well as that the world is multicultural.
Many stories offer a chance for you to play with the concepts in the book. In A Birthday for Cow by Jan Thomas, the animalsmake a cake. Incorporating props such as a mixing bowl and spoon into the reading of the story, or retelling the story afterwards will help children understand the story better, and have fun at the same time.
Allow your child time for free play. Provide a variety of toys and objects that are safe for babies, and let them direct how they want to play with the object. Even if it just looks like they are putting a toy in their mouth or knocking things over, they are learning!