Playing with toys can create a rich environment for developing your child’s communication skills. It allows your child to learn a variety of speech and language skills that are meaningful to their lives.
Here are some ideas on how you can play with some of the things you already have around the home:
- Combine pieces from various playsets to encourage flexibility in play. For example, once you have built a castle with your Magna-Tiles, you could include a Spider Man action figure into the play.
- Learn the rules of the game from your child. Have them give you directions using a “First, Then, Last,” structure when explaining how to play a board game or a video game. Let them be the teacher.
- Toys with multiple pieces give opportunities for both of you to take turns in conversation (e.g., requests, or turn-taking language). Examples of these types of toys include Magna-Tiles, Lego, marble tracks, pretend play sets like grocery store or restaurant.
- Copy what your child does with their toys. This shows them that what they did is interesting and continues to encourage interactions. You can then expand on the action to teach them something new.
- Avoid questions when possible. Instead you can:
- List out choices of things you could play and then wait for a response (e.g.,“We could build a plane, we could build a house, we could build a castle …”).
- Talk about what you are doing in your play.
- Repeat what they have said and add one or two more words to it (e.g., if your child points and says “car”, repeat back to them “more cars”, “red car”).