tea party with toddlerWhen parents and therapists model conversation in pretend play, kids start to imitate them and learn to take turns in conversation with their little toy pets or people.

Caroline’s mom had asked me what things she could be doing with 2 year-old Caroline to build language during play time. I told her to take a toy figure and and talk to the figure that Caroline was holding to model a conversation. Caroline has learned the art of conversing. I gave her some cute dog characters, called Randy Candy and Coco Coconut from PetCakes, stuffed dogs with a cupcake home and frosting tops. Caroline immediately took to the characters, grabbed one, gave me the other and commanded, “Talk!” She wanted me to start the conversation. My dog, Randy, said, “Hi,” and hers responded. Then she said, “You have a cherry on top,” which indeed he did on the top of his frosted head. I asked Coco what she would like to do and she said, “Eat a tea party,” so we proceeded to the little doll table where Caroline offered sprinkle cookies.

Kids learn to take turns conversationally but also expand the story telling as they request and comment to their pretend friends, whether they are a stuffed animal or Fisher Price little people character. When your child is carrying a favorite dinosaur, snake or Barbie, start up a conversation with the friend and see how your child responds. At first, you might need to model both sides of the conversation to give them the idea of how it works.

The opinions expressed in this review are solely those of the author. “Petcakes” were provided for review by Well Made Toy Manufacturing Corporation.”