Toddler Pretend Play to Build Language Development

It’s like magic when a child connects with a toy and the language flows. This week Will visited Connecticut as an almost 2 year-old and discovered She-She’s office (my room full of toys)! After selecting Winnie the Pooh’s house and all his buddies we were good to go. He loaded as many figures into his little hands and proceeded to play house. I slowly introduced some of the “features” of the house like a refrigerator full of food, a ladder to the second floor, and a chest of drawers with clothes in it. Will discovered the moving gate and open door as well as the balconies. Soon, all the figures were piled onto the balcony for a party. I followed his lead and joined the group with my figure and carried on a conversation related to his play theme.

When  introducing new toys, let your child explore and discover the features of the toy. Slowly introduce the features he may have missed and let him proceed with the play. After showing Will the refrigerator, he took his Tigger and helped himself to some watermelon. I followed with my Piglet and tried some lettuce. We followed up with a chat about what foods we like—he is partial to popsicles and I like chocolate chip cookies.

Frankly I find playing with a 2 year-old relaxing. With all that a mom is in charge of during the day—keeping kids on schedule, naps, feedings, meals, laundry, or play time—this is one area you don’t have to be in charge. In fact, research shows that it is best to let your child be in charge. He will build his language and pretend play skills when he is making the decisions.

So sit back a relax and follow his lead. Pretend you aren’t in charge!