Language learning is not limited to structured activities. It can be learnt anytime and anywhere. Not only is the playground a place to promote your child’s physical development, it is also a perfect place to facilitate language and social development.

Here are some tips on how to incorporate language during outdoor activities: 

  • Listen and follow – Incorporate concepts like shapes, sizes and colours to your instructions. Have your child follow what you say, “go down the red slide!”, “find the big swing”.
  • Building on what they say – Adding one or two words to what they say helps your child to extend their language. If your child says “swing”, you can say “more swing”.
  • Act it out – Action words like ‘push’, ‘jump’ and ‘climb’ can be difficult for children to understand. Encourage your child to model the action while you label the word, ‘Yes! You are jumping!’.
  • Have fun together – The playground provides many opportunities to enhance free play and pretend play. Have your child pretend to be different characters (e.g. animals, pirates) and let the playground be your biggest prop/stage! 
  • Be their role model – Model social words such as “bye bye”, “It’s my turn”, “no thanks” and encourage your child to copy. Accompany with gestures to help them understand.

So, grab your shoes and go outside and play!