When it comes to language and vocabulary, role play plays a huge part. As children run around the playground pretending to be superheroes, doctors and everything in between, they develop core communication skills without even knowing it.
As seen in Little Learners
Here are five things that encourage role play and nurture a child's language development.
Children tend to recreate scenes and repeat snippets of conversations they have heard in everyday life, which is fantastic for enhancing their listening and communication skills. Adults can support this by getting stuck in themselves (if invited, of course!) and feeding new vocabulary into the pretend play scenarios.
Children often adapt books and stories they have read into their role play plots. It gives them a launch pad to shape new fantasy worlds of their own, and as they narrate these storylines, their grasp on words and sentences will naturally evolve.
Playing with their peers is a brilliant way to boost a child's social communication skills. As children play together, they will learn all about reading body language, using eye contact, listening to others and taking turns to speak in a conversation. Alongside language development, this will also teach them how to build relationships and work as a team.
Pretend play settings are detached from reality, giving youngsters a sense of freedom as making mistakes becomes far less daunting. This can motivate children to experiment with words they have heard in the classroom, or at home, without the fear of pronouncing them incorrectly or not using them in the right context.
Expressing ideas and plans for a play session enables children to learn how to vocalise their thoughts. Beyond acquiring new vocabulary, it also teaches youngsters how to communicate their thoughts with others. This is a fundamental skill which can help children in all areas of their development, from expressing emotions to making friends.
Educational toys for language development
Alongside pretend play and dress-up, heaps of other toys and activities can make language learning fun. These are some of our favourites:
Puzzles are a great way to introduce new vocabulary to young children. As you're piecing together the puzzle, talk to them about what's happening in the scene and what to look for on the next piece. It's very difficult to do a puzzle together in total silence (and it’s also no fun), so work as a team and be vocal!
Learning the alphabet opens the door to language development early in a child's education. It's a building block for tots to develop their reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. The key to their concentration and focus is fun. Make it exciting with interactive games and activities.
Playsets like doll houses, wooden food and kitchen sets help children understand the world around them. Acting out the activities they see grown-ups do daily gives them opportunities to develop their vocabulary and helps them grow in confidence and set their imaginations free.
Open-ended play is very important in early childhood as it nurtures independence and self-confidence. Exploring new ideas and playing with imaginative narratives also helps children learn how to put sentences together. Realistic animal figures are perfect for play-based learning sessions and using a range of different animals will help them develop a greater understanding of the world around them.
About Bigjigs Toys
Founded by former teachers, Bigjigs Toys believes in the power of learning through play. Educational toys are its beating heart, with every one of its products thoughtfully crafted to complement childhood exploration and development. Bigjigs Toys has more than 35 years’ of experience designing and creating toys that excite and engage little minds.
Enjoyed reading this blog? We've got loads more ideas and inspiration for early years teachers in our Little Learners magazine. This article has been taken from our latest issue. Click here to check it out.
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