4 tips for talking in the park

The park is a great place to support your child's language development because it involves lots of movement. Lots of movement = lots of action words and lots of action words = sentences! As always when you are using these tips try to stay one step ahead of your child's talking, i.e. If they are not using any words then you use one word at a time, if they are using single words then you use short phrases etc see this post for a more detailed explanation.

1) Watch what your child is doing and use lots of actions to describe it. You might talk about swinging, climbing, falling, throwing, catching, kicking. Whatever your child is doing, talk about it.

2) Use lots of descriptive words e.g. 'that climbing frame is high', 'you are running really fast' 'the seesaw is wobbly'. Children need these kinds of words to build sentences.

3) Play 'ready steady go' games. These help develop your child's waiting and listening skills as they anticipate 'go', and listening skills are really important for language development. You could:
- pull your child up towards you on the swing and say 'ready steady......' and pause before saying 'go' and letting the swing go so it swings back and forth.
- have a race, encouraging your child to wait for 'go' before she runs
- do stop and 'ready steady go' whilst pushing your child is on the roundabout

4) When you leave the park and are walking or driving home make sure you talk about all the things you did together e.g. 'we went to the park and we went on the swings, we kicked up the leaves, we had a really fast race' etc. This not only gives your child an additional chance to hear all the words again, but also gives your child the opportunity to hear them talked about in the past tense.

If your child is anything like mine you won't hear him or her doing too much talking when you are actually in the park. A lot of children are too busy being active to stop and have a chat when playing out and about! However they will be hearing all your words and sentences and learning them even if they don't use them until a bit later.

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