(More!) Tricks for Developing Language through Play

Amy from TeachMama.com: 2012 Melissa & Doug Blog Ambassador

This educational activity is brought to you by Melissa & Doug, written by our Blog Ambassador Amy Mascott.

Playtime should be full of fun, but it’s also a super time to sneak in some language learning!

Did you totally dig the last Language & Play post? Sure you did!

Here are two more tricks for developing language through play:

Language & Play from Amy of @TeachMama: 2012 Melissa & Doug Blog Ambassador

1. Talk. About. Words. Even for our little guys, talking about words is important. We want to create word-conscious kids. We want our children to be aware of words, to love words and to listen and look for words wherever they may be. So if you’re playing with wooden food and you know the Spanish words for orange, apple and pear, teach them to your kids! Casually–like, “Hey, do you want to learn a new word today? Do you know that in Spanish, an orange is a naranja, and an apple is a manzana?  Can you say naranja?”

Or if you don’t know another language–and many of us don’t–try simply talking about how a word sounds when you say it, how it feels when you say it or which other words rhyme with it. “Would you please cut me a piece of that pizza? I’m so very hungry. Not only do I love eating pizza, but I also love saying pizza. I feel a tickle on the roof of my mouth when I say it.”

Language & Play from Amy of @TeachMama: 2012 Melissa & Doug Blog Ambassador

Developing Language Skills through Pretend Food Play

2.  Use Content-Specific Words–and Aim High. Use math terms. Use science terms. Use words that you think your child may not know. Play is a great time for teaching! Say things like:

“Please put that block under (or below, next to, above, alongside, to the left of, to the right of) the chair.”

“Would you please give me half (or a quarter of, or a third, or a fourth) of that pear?”

“I love spices on my vegetables. Would you please shake some pepper (or nutmeg, cumin, pepper) on them?”

“Will you please bake these cookies for 30 minutes at 350 degrees? Put them on the middle rack so they bake evenly.”

Two super-easy ways to develop your kiddos’ language–with a few more ideas to come!


Hang with Amy over at teachmama.com for more cool, super-sneaky ways to throw in some learning in the name of fun, or join her at we teach–a forum for parents and teachers to connect, share ideas and grow–no matter the classroom.  Or tweet with her (@teachmama), pin with her or chat with her on Facebook!

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