Week 1: Skip the Trip to the Shops
Children learn language skills by interacting with those familiar to them. One way to encourage such interactions is by playing fun games. Now, before you head straight to the shopping centre to buy more toys and gadgets, this month we are going to look at regular household items that can be easily used to help build your child’s communication skills. It’s important when encouraging language development to remember two things: make it repetitive and use similar language each time you play. By using the same or similar words over and over again, you’re increasing your little person’s familiarity with these new words so that they might start using them themselves. One secret weapon that I guarantee you’ve got lying around your house is the humble blanket. Blankets can be used for ALL sorts of games, such as building cubby houses, playing peek-a-boo or hide and seek. By playing these games you can start to repeat words like: boo, find, see, hiding. As your child gets a bit older, you can use more abstract concepts such as near and far or hot, warm and cold to describe whether they’re close to your top secret hiding spot. So what game will you use your blanket for today?
Week 2: Tupperware Party!
As you may now know, this month we’ve been looking at games that help build your little person’s language skills using your regular household items. As we’ve mentioned previously, to encourage language development in our little people it’s important to remember to make your games repetitive and to use similar language each time you play. At first glance, the kitchen might seem like a terrible place to play! However, it’s often referred to as the ‘heart of the home’, wouldn’t it be great if our children felt welcome here too? Growing up, we were allowed to play with one draw in the kitchen, we were not allowed to touch anything else! This draw was filled with Tupperware and other plastic containers. We loved it! Could you put your plastics in a place that is safe and accessible for your children? Plastic containers can be used for all sorts of imaginative play, giving you the opportunity to familiarise your child with words like: open and close, stop and go or even cooking terms like stir and shake. Remember to keep it fun! This is a chance for your child to get creative and have fun with the items at their disposal. What words will you be repeating with your little person during your time together in the kitchen?
Week 3: Pillow Fort!
This month we’ve been looking at games that help build your little person’s language skills using regular household items. As we’ve talked about already, to encourage language development in our little people it’s important to remember two things: make your games repetitive and use similar language each time you play. Pillows are great fun for little kids. You can arrange pillows in a circle to make a ‘nest’ or you might like to stack them one on top of the other into an impressive pile and watch your little one roll down in fits of laughter. These types of games can help your child learn fantastic words such as: stack, pile, flop, tumble, squeeze and buried. When playing these games, it’s helpful to establish some kind of routine. Give the games a name, you might call the rolling game ‘Jack and Jill’ and count the number of pillows that you stack each time to set it up. Talking through each step teaches your little person that there is some method to the madness and they’ll be more likely to join in doing the same. What games will you come up with using your pillows at home?
Week 4: Spaceships and Deserted Islands
All this month we’ve been looking at games to help build your little person’s language skills using regular household items. As mentioned previously, to encourage language development in our little people it’s important to remember to make your games repetitive and to use similar language each time you play. So many of our daily activities, like getting our washing done, can pass by without a moment’s thought, however it’s these types of familiar, routine activities that can be perfect opportunities to help build our little person’s communication skills. Washing baskets are an awesome tool that can easily be turned boats, deserted islands or spaceships with a little bit of imagination. These types of games can teach vocab like: push, pull, stop, go and rock. Peg baskets are also great fun to play with, whether they’re put into a container and shaken around or pegged onto things. Playing with pegs can help your little person better understand words like rattle, shake, noisy, loud and quiet. Taking turns in play gives your child a chance to take on a role and use these new words. So, where will you be taking your washing basket spaceship?