Children’s toys such as babies, dolls and puppets are great accessories to encourage and expand children’s play. With animation and play through a hand puppet that has a movable mouth with a tongue, children can become even more intensely involved in play and conversation. We present five language concepts and ideas- how to help a child support and learn a language through a puppet.
1. LEARNING BODY PARTS
Through play we show and tell the child names for certain parts of the puppet. Over time, we encourage him to show or name a specific part of the body or face (eyes, nose, mouth, ears, hands, fingers, abdomen, legs) on his toy.
2. LEARNING CLOTHES
Encourage your child to dress his puppet. You can use toddler’s clothes or clothes of other toys (socks, pants, T-shirts). The child learns new concepts, which he later uses appropriately.
3. LEARNING BASIC CONCEPTS
Use the puppet with various other items like box, blanket, table. Teach the child to understand and use suggestions (IN the box, UNDER the blanket, ON the table), colors (GREEN puppet, RED blanket) and size-related concepts (BIG table, SMALL box, LARGER puppet).
4. LEARNING VERBS AND ADJECTIVES
Use the puppet together with other children’s toys or everyday objects, such as: bed, spoon, glass, clothes, food. While playing the child learns new verbs and adjectives: eat, drink, sleep, sit, stand, hungry, sleepy, thirsty, happy, sad, ets.
5. SOCIAL AND PRAGMATIC SKILLS
Puppets can be a great tool to help learn appropriate social and pragmatic skills. In a symbolic game, when we talk to a child and pretend to cook, feed, play doctors or hairdressers with a puppet, the child learns appropriate communication and meaningful use of language.
References: Yeh, K. (2012). Top Toys & How They Can Support Speech & Language Development; http://www.playingwithwords365.com/top-toys-how-they-can-support-speech-language-development-part-two//