As parents, we all want to enhance our child’s speech and language abilities, but sometimes we aren’t sure of the best way for our children to learn valuable language and social skills. While solitary play has its benefits, play groups are really where children can learn play, social and language skills. Here are some ways that play groups will benefit your child and enhance these strengths.
1. Play builds children’s cognitive skills. When children are playing together, they will be deciding which game to play and how often to use their problem-solving abilities while playing (how can they build the tower higher, thinking about what makes it fall down, etc.). Depending on the game, they might incorporate literacy or math skills (counting, reading letters/words, etc.)
2. Play groups build social skills. Children will be engaged with peers, sometimes meeting new friends that they are playing with. That is an opportunity for children to learn how to introduce themselves, which is an important social skill. Children also will have to use turn-taking and conversation skills while playing. And they learn to navigate through problems that naturally come up when playing together (negotiating toys/turns, etc.).
3. Playing with peers helps to build a child’s imagination. Children love to pretend, and play groups give children a space to use their imagination. They might create a new game, pretend to be various animals or have a tea party. Whatever game they decide on, there is usually some level of pretend play involved — which is great for their imaginations.
4. Play groups are not just beneficial for your children, they are good for parents, too! It is nice to meet other parents and be able to share experiences and ask questions.
Whether you get your children together with mutual friends or attend an organized group at a library or play center, attending a play group will be beneficial for you and your child!
Submitted by LLA Therapy, which offers speech-language, physical, occupational, behavioral, and music therapy at its clinics in Fairlawn, Hudson and Medina. LLA is committed to guiding all individuals toward quality therapy solutions to improve the lives of their patients and their families in a collaborative, nurturing and supportive atmosphere. For more information, visit llatherapy.org