Play and its role in facilitating communication

Unlike the popular idea that play is the opposite of learning, the reality is, play is the most crucial step in the process of learning. Play allows children to improve their communication skills through learning more words and practicing their skills. Not only does play benefit linguistic abilities, but it also teaches children problem solving skills, empathy, how to regulate their emotions, and it improves their IQ.

How does my child learn to communicate through play?

While playing, children learn the name of objects, verbs, and how to describe them. When children start to socialize and play with others (around the age of 2), they start to practice their language skills and learn from their peers. Through play, your child will improve his listening skills and learn how to follow instructions.

To add to that, communicating through language requires skills such as imagery, thinking skills, and representational skills. Children must learn how to communicate through symbols, and symbolic play teaches that exactly (Creaghe et al., 2021). To elaborate, in play, a child can use a banana to represent a phone. Similarly, in language, a child uses words to represent items. A study conducted on the association between language delay and symbolic play found that children with language delays had poorer symbolic play abilities (Terrell et al., 1984).

How can I improve my child’s language skills through play?

  • Teach your child sounds while they play. For instance, help them learn how to label objects. If your child is playing with a doll, try saying d-doll for them to imitate you.
  • You can ask your child questions to improve their listening skills and receptive language. For example, you can ask your child to show you where the red car is to help him learn color identification.
  • Use symbolic play. You can play with a banana and pretend it is a phone for example.
  • Allow your child to socialize and play with other children of a similar age.


Make sure that you and your child makes up the most out of playing! This is crucial as the process of playing is important for a child’s social, cognitive, emotional, and physical health.

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