Why Is Play So Important For Language Development?

10342494_526294250813833_8643918449388554051_nWritten by Christine Wilson MS CCC-SLP:

As a speech therapist, I get to play with kids and toys all day. Part of my routine evaluation of children 3 and under is to assess their play skills. Below are some play skill milestones that you can use to decide if your child is developing normal play skills.

0-24 months: Solitary Play. Plays alone without concern for activities of others around him; minimal attention to other children in the area.

24-34 months: Parallel Play. Plays beside children rather than with other children., usually with similar toys/materials; somewhat attentive to others.

30-36 months: Associative Play. Plays with other children, such as sharing toys and talking about the play activities, even though agendas may be different.

36-48 months: Cooperative Play. Plays with children in an organized fashion toward a common goal.

3-5 years: Rough and Tumble Play. Boisterous and physical activity done in a playful manner.

3-5 years: Games with rules. Participates in an activity with accepted rules or limits; displays shared expectations and a willingness to conform to agreed upon procedures; preset standard game or made up game.

Play skills are crucial to social and language development and should be fostered and developed. Atypical play behaviors include: no focus or intent; stares blankly; wanders with no purpose, attached to unusual object, perseverates on certain objects, lines up toys, focuses on parts of objects. If you notice your child is exhibiting some atypical play behaviors it may be time for a speech and language evaluation. Play skills are the way we learn to socialize with our peers and they must be addressed like any other developmental delay.


If you’re looking for speech therapy for your child please do not hesitate to give Christine Wilson’s office a call today! She is currently accepting new patients.

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