I have several parents who encourage me with their application of ideas that I have taught them. I am always trying to teach parents what to look for in a toy that builds language and how to set up great toys so a child can narrate stories and play creatively.
Yesterday I was with one of my favorite moms who shows me she “gets it!” She had bought two little vehicles from the “Cars” collection–the helicopter and mail truck. She and her son had been playing with them before I arrived. She mentioned that they didn’t come with people which is one of my first criteria for an effective language toy. Children need people, animals or figures that they an animate to get the conversation going. They practice dialogue, taking turns, formulating sentences and questions and narrate solving problems.
This mom stated that there weren’t any people that came with the truck so they made their own. I looked over at the truck and there was a stick man drawn on a little piece of paper, sitting int he driver’s seat! If only toys manufacturers were so ardent about providing people for kids to play with.