The Power of Play

So often now young ones are being pushed to do more then they are ready for, and forgoing playtime. Play is not a frivolous and purposeless activity, but rather an opportune time to learn through something that is meaningful and relevant to our children’s life. Play sparks curiosity and creativity, and is critical for expanding cognitive, language, motor, and social-emotional development.

Over the next few weeks we will discuss different types of play including: active play vs. passive entertainment, child-directed vs. adult directed, free play vs. structured play, and object play vs. social play.

Please feel free to join this discussion and give us your experience and input, ask questions, or tell us about your favorite toy and why.

Whether your child is working on developing language skills, speech sound production, or social skills, play-based therapy is a great tool.  Using active play (i.e. an activity which the child is taking part in) can allow for numerous communicative or production opportunities while having fun.  For example, a child that is working on /b/ production may enjoy bouncing/rolling balls with a parent/sibling.

Passive entertainment (i.e. an activity which a child observes passively) may be used for carryover of a skill.  For example, using an alphabet app which visually shows the letter “B” as well as word which being with the /b/ sound may provide more auditory feedback for the child working on the /b/ sound.

Let’s hear what activities you do to carryover skills addressed in therapy.

When playing with our children, we must remember that although sometimes we want adult-directed play (i.e. planned by us, initiated by us, and terminated by us), child-centered play may more relevant, meaningful, and reinforcing to them.  So, the next time your child initiates, follow along!  Learn to incorporate language into his/her play by commenting, modeling, and asking questions.

Think for a moment…what was your favorite play activity as a child?  Mine was Barbies and riding my yellow bike with a banana seat.  Times have changed, and many children play simulated games (e.g. Wii bowling) in lue of playing the actual game.  Although technology advancements have helped in many areas, Dr. Elkind (2007) states “an unintended consequence is that childhood has moved indoors.”  Playing on handheld devices and video game systems does not foster the cooperative play skills, problem solving, and language which is important for child development.   Weigh in your opinion regarding technology, we’d love to hear it!