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A child's job is to play!

Follow your child’s lead in play. Allow them to choose a play activity. When you are playing with your child, think of a few words you could use as you play. For example, playing with cars you could model “car” and “go” with lots of repetitions. Offer your child things little by little. For example, give them one puzzle piece or one block at a time so that they have to ask for more.


For example, when playing with a farm set, show her/him the horse walking, running, eating, drinking, jumping, sleeping etc. Label what you are doing e.g. “cow”, “cow eat”, “the cow is eating”. Pick a few words to focus on at a time. After you’ve modelled a word a few times, wait a few seconds to see if your child can try to copy you. Instead of insisting that they say it, sound as if you are anticipating them saying it: “Jane, it’s a…” (wait).

Sometimes simple toys and games are the most effective at stimulating language, think about ball play, stacking rings, spinning tops, and musical instruments like shakers and bells.

Kids daycare

Types of play

Different types of play create opportunities for language learning and exposes your child to a variety of situations. Think about:

  • Outdoor play such as ball play, playgrounds, obstacle courses or trampolines
  • Sensory play with sand, water, nature or arts and crafts
  • Constructive play such as building with blocks
  • People games such as peek a boo, duck duck goose, pulling faces, tickles or hide and seek
  • Movement games like jumping, swinging, chasing, horse rides or pretending to be animals
  • Pretend play such as having a teddy bears picnic, tea party or dress ups

Let's watch...

What types of play did you notice?

People games such as hide and seek and peek a boo. Pretend play with baby.

Caregiver Self Reflection

At home:

  • How will you join in and play with your child?
  • What types of play will your child enjoy the most?

Last updated 13 Jul 2023