Playground Play - Supporting Your Child's Development

Playground Play

Sadly, we have to say goodbye to the season of Summer, and welcome Autumn. This means there will be perfect weather to take your child to the playground! Many children love going to the playground, it is a wonderful environment for kids to learn, explore, and exert some (or lots) of their energy. There are countless activities that we can focus on during playground play that can help our children’s speech and language develop, as well as gross motor skills, fine motor skills and other foundational skills – here are some ideas that you can try at your next visit to your local playground.

Expanding vocabulary

Concepts are an important language area to support our children with. We need to use and understand concepts throughout our day, e.g. with instructions in the classroom and home, and in conversations. Here are some ideas of how you can incorporate concept words into your language when playing with your child:

  • Up/Down
    • ‘you’re going up/down the slide’
    • ‘climb up/down the ladder!’
    • let’s run up/down the ramp’
  • Fast/Slow
    • ‘wow, you’re running fast!’
    • ‘I’m going to spin you fast/slow’
    • ‘should we go fast or slow?’
  • Under/In/On/Around
    • ‘Let’s go under the bridge!’
    • ‘Crawl in the tunnel’
    • ‘You went around the swings!’
    • ‘You’re standing on the bridge’

Social language skills

The playground is a great opportunity to practice social skills! Encourage and practice the following areas with your child.

  • Turn-taking. Practice turn-taking skills and waiting for your turn, using the words ‘my turn/your turn’. This is also a great way for children to learn to use the correct pronouns!
  • Requesting. Encourage your child to ask if they would like e.g. a turn on the swings. You might encourage them to ask ‘can I have a turn?’ or ‘can I go on after you?’
  • Commenting. Model how you can make comments during or after an activity e.g. ‘wow, that was fun!’ or ‘I like to swing!’. This helps to show our children that we can use language for a variety of reasons, not just for asking and answering questions!

Following Instructions

Play a fun game of following instructions at the playground. You might want to try taking turns with your child and let them give some instructions too – they love getting to take turns to give the instructions!

Some ideas include:

2 key words

  • Hop to the swings
  • Do 5 star jumps

3 key words

  • Go to the swings, then go to the slide
  • Go on the slide, then the swings

4 key words

  • Jump, then run to your sister
  • Give me a high five, then run to the ladder

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