The Importance of Language And Play

Posted on
September 28, 2023
Continue the discussion with a pro

Have a chat with a certified Speech and Language Professional for free

Book now

Playing plays an important role in the acquisition of language. Play is a mode of learning that is very strongly related to communication development. Special interests can also be explored, enjoyed, and expanded upon during play!

Play therapy allows for an opportunity to develop a relationship with the child and conduct intervention sessions in such a way that honors the child for who he or she is and to be with the child, accepting of who he or she is…” - Loeb et al., 2021

Letting your child lead is important for their learning and development of many skills including intrinsic motivation and language development. Encouragement and reflection such as “you worked hard to fix that” or “you look like you feel happy when you play with the bear” are great ways to connect with your child during child-led play. Following your child’s lead, waiting, and allowing for silence is also important.

You can use many different strategies to encourage joint attention and language development during play:

language and play

Strategy What/How

Follow their lead Follow their interests and allow for them to initiate and show you how they would like to

Expanding Add one word to what your child says and/or expand on their play skills

Adult: “Go fast train” or “Go red train”

Reflection Reflecting on feelings and joint understanding.

“Looks like you feel happy when you are


Tracking Comments about what the child is doing in play. We also call this ‘parallel talk’.

“Ooh I saw you pick up the train”

Wait Time Allow for silence and wait time before you jump in and direct

Sit face-to-face Make sure you are on your child’s level. When you do this you are a safe play partner

and they can see your facial expressions and


Overall, allow your child to have some creativity in their play! Using these early language strategies during play will encourage development of not only language development, but of a multitude of other early skills.

“Play is not just about having fun, but about taking risks, experimenting, and testing boundaries.” - American Academy of Pediatrics

Noala Speech Therapists
Continue the discussion with a pro

Let's connect you to a speech and language therapist, and get all your questions answered today.

Continue discussion