Learning Language Through Play

by | Mar 8, 2021

Play is one of the most powerful ways a child learns language. From the earliest days of life, infants begin making sense of their world through seeing facial expressions and listening to voices and noises. Getting up close and personal with your child while singing, introducing age-appropriate objects such as rattles and soft toys, or just making silly sounds and faces, not only builds strong bonds between the two of you but introduces you as your child’s most influential communication partner.

As your child grows, play begins to become more complex and offers the perfect context for expanding language skills. Across your child’s early years, play contributes to growth in cognitive, communicative, social, physical, and emotional development. Activities like pretend play, turn-taking, singing songs, reading books, playing games and sensory-motor experiences offer excellent opportunities to practice language skills such as reading facial expressions and body language, increasing attention skills, and building confidence in problem-solving abilities.

This article from the American Occupational Therapy Association further explains the role of play in learning:


Ana Paula Mumy, MS, SSS-SLP has created beautiful tip sheets called “Purposeful Ongoing Play” or POP. You can print individually or purchase a downloadable set for a very reasonable price.


Your therapist can provide you with additional resources if you’re looking for more learning through play ideas.