What is play and its importance in speech and language development?

Published on 28th July, 2019 by Dr. Sanveen Kang

What is play and its importance in speech and language development?

Play has been defined as the ability to engage in an activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose.

It is one of the most important ways that a child can learn about the world. From playing with adults and peers, a child can learn how to interact and get along with others. It can also help develop a child’s problem solving skills, creativity and imagination. Most importantly, play can help a child develop their understanding and use of language. A child begins to understand the words used in the play activity, and once understood, he can start to use them spontaneously. Play skills and communication skills develop hand in hand. Learning through play is fun for the child and can make him want to keep the interaction going.

It is important to highlight that playing with toys can be particularly challenging for a child who has motor-planning difficulties. These children often do not play with toys as expected, as it is easier for them to perform one simple action repeated than play with toys in a more complex manner. Once the child has learnt to play with toys, it may be difficult for him to include you in the play. This can be due to difficulties in being to concentrate on both the toys and yourself at the same time. For play to be successful, a child needs to know how to play with you first, then with toys, and finally with you and the toys together.

Furthermore, it is important to understand a child’s “play stage” or play development to ensure appropriate play activities are selected to maximize interaction and language development.

So go ahead! Let your inner child out! Get down your child's level and play!

Dr. Sanveen Kang

About the Author - Dr. Sanveen Kang

Dr. Kang is a Clinical Psychologist by training and has more than 14 years of experience in treating mental and physical health issues for clients in hospitals, private practice, educational and corporate settings.

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