This post will give you ideas for every day play that can help to develop your child’s language development at home. Here’s a post with play ideas for fine motor skills that may interest you too.
Tea Party Language Development
I love activities that can be easily packed up and taken on your travels or just as good at home too. I’ve found some lovely ideas on Pinterest for small world set ups that come in little containers. We decided we’d make our own.
Floss is really into ‘tea parties’ at the moment so I thought I’d set up a small world invitation with her Grimm’s Dwarfs and mini tea party set. These sort of sets up are perfect for language development. They give opportunities to take turns in conversation either with a peer or adult or taking on the role of multiple characters themselves.
You could use any characters that you already have around your home or make some. Pop in a couple of cups and a scrap of fabric into a tupperware container and ta-dah – you have your mini tea party all set.
Now, if your little one is anything like mine, I can’t guarantee that the contents will remain in the container. We used a mini suitcase and that meant a lot of time was spent just taking the suitcase from one location to another, under heavy guard I may add!
A great idea is to have this as an out-and-about box ready to go. Good for a wait before an appointment or eating out. You could also do many different themes in the boxes. I know I plan to try out lots as Floss loves these.
I can’t believe how popular this has been! Floss’s DadDad sometimes has to go abroad for work, which means he misses bedtime. We will often try to do a video call, but sometimes the difference in time zones just doesn’t work.
The last time DadDad went away we recorded onto a dictaphone some of Floss’s favourite stories. We played them at bedtimes and snack times. You could tell she was really into the story as she was laughing and ‘oh no’-ing at the appropriate times. I used a dictaphone, but you could easily use a mobile phone and even video the story being read.
Listening to stories helps to increase children’s vocabulary, sequence ideas and begin to use more complex language such as descriptive words (adjectives) to go with the simple nouns that they know.
There are now a couple of great children’s audio players you can get to do this too. We have a Tonie Box and you can find out more about them in this post here they’re perfect for little ones. Yoto Boxes are ideal for older children too.
DadDad does some pretty awesome voices for characters in stories, but it’s also lovely to have the imperfections in the recordings too. We recorded the story while DadDad was reading to Floss one night and he mixed up some of the words. When we played it back it was her favourite bit, when it went a bit wrong and you could hear us all laughing together. The mistakes made it PERFECT.
It’s a lovely idea for relatives who live far away or whom you don’t see very often. They could record a story for your little one that they can cherish. UPDATE – Perfect for during our Covid world we are living in right now.
Little ones love containers! They can stack them, sort them, order them, fill them, empty them, transport them and more. Perfect for so many early schemas in children.
Again, there are so many opportunities for language development with container play. This can be an ideal time to introduce mathematical vocabulary such as small, big, size, empty, full etc.
We’ve fallen in love with the Grimm’s natural wooden bowls (BUSY10 discount code) in the pictures above (You can get the Rainbow from here – BUSY10 discount code too). We can confirm that a large amount of peas can fit in each container when placed carefully in one at a time! Oh my can we spend a long time with these bowls, but you don’t need to purchase specific toys for this purpose.
Tupperware, especially with lids, are perfect. See what other things you can find in the kitchen too. We’ve got a set of 3 jugs that fit inside each other and not forgetting my lovely Joseph Joseph bowl set that DadDad bought me as a gift.
Yes I was bought kitchen bowls for a Valentines present. Hehe. Luckily, he knows me so well and it’s the perfect gift for me! They’re brilliant for the kitchen, but make amazing play items.
Measuring spoons are great too. Nesting dolls (BUSY10 discount code) are a super way of exploring shape, space and size as well. You’ll note I’m a penguin missing – he was being utilised during the photo shoot by Floss and couldn’t attend. The really little ones we only play with together due to the size.
Finger Gym and Language Development
The lovely people behind Finger Gym are letting me share with you some of the great ideas in their book. I’m sharing an activity called Shadow Riddles. Make a room nice and dark and shine a light on a light coloured wall (or put up paper or a sheet).
Use your hands to make shadows while giving clues about what your animal is. If they guess or you tell them what the animal is, encourage them to come and make baby shadows of that animal. Older children could have a go at coming up with their own clues. A challenge might be to make rhyming riddles for their animals.
What is brilliant with the Finger Gym program is how much language development opportunities are incorporated into each of the activities.
Stones and Gems
I love rocks, stones and gems. They’ve always fascinated me and I’ve enjoyed collecting various rocks over the years. Floss has definitely taken after me and loves to explore rocks and stones.
She will often stop to pick one up on our travels and I always have different ones out for loose parts play. Colours, textures, warmth, patterns can all be explored using these simple resources. So much opportunity to explore new words. Floss often uses them in her small world play too.
You may like to check out the post on top toys for toddlers here.
As always, I would recommend adult supervision with activities and take care to ensure the items you are using are suitable for your child in both age and development. The views expressed are my own. If I have been sent a product for review then I will state this is the case; my review will be my honest opinion.