It’s Never - ‘Just Play’

Speech Therapy
It’s Never - ‘Just Play’

Play has been called the ‘work of children’ and has a crucial role in a child's early years of development. Literature shows that 75% of a child’s brain development happens after birth. Each time a child engages in an activity, nerve cells within the brain are stimulated and connections are made. This enhances fine and gross motor skills, language, speech, socialization, personal awareness, listening, attention, emotional well-being, creativity, problem solving and learning capacities of a child. As children mature their play skills also diverge and they develop new and more complex skills.

Play Development in early childhood




Onlooker play

●      Child watches others during playing

●      He may be reluctant to join or may not know how to play

Can be at various ages.

Solitary play

●      Child plays by himself with no interaction with others.

< 2>

Parallel play

●      Children sit alongside each other with their own toys, but do not attempt to play together.

2-3 years

Associative play

●      Group play

●      Playing with the same toy

●      Intermittently Working together.

3 ½ - 4 ½ years

Cooperative play

●      Group play

●      Children negotiate play together

●      Accept and create roles of play

4-5 years

Kostelinke, Marjorie, Anne Sodeme and Alice Phipps Wirren. Developmentally appropriate curriculum: Best Practice in Early Childhood Education.5.5 Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, 2011. Print

Language development and play: There are several strategies through which language can be elicited during play. Here are at least 5 tips for you!

  • Follow the child’s lead - Be an observer and engage your child in play activities that they are INTERESTED in. Avoid enforcing what interests you! When a child’s deep interests are triggered, they are able to engage with you longer, which allows great OPPORTUNITIES for language acquisition.
  • Practice turn taking - Establishing turn taking while playing will facilitate social and communication skills in children. It increases opportunities for communication INITIATION and RECIPROCATION.
  • Be a model and an expander - Play is a wonderful opportunity for a child to RELATE MEANING TO WORDS and BUILD VOCABULARY. You can be a far better model and expander by commenting about what you or your child is doing. You could also add a word or phrase to your child’s short phrases, thereby modeling the right sentence structure and exposing your child to complex grammar.
  • Singing songs - Singing rhymes with a child is an excellent way to teach language. Children get hooked on to the music, rhythmic beats and actions that often go along with these nursery rhymes and pick up words rapidly.
  • Reading books together - Reading stories that are novel or familiar, can help develop a child’s vocabulary, language, and memory skills. Asking questions while reading helps in the development of inferencing and reasoning.

Never thrust back a child from playing. Step in and just play along!

If your child is experiencing language delays or disinterest in play, contact us for consultations.

By, Ms Anjali Anoop (Speech Language Pathologist - DCCD)

Ms. Chitra Thadathil (Director, Speech Language Pathologist – DCCD)





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