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PLAYDOUGH
AND
LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT

An extensive spoken vocabulary is one of the best predictors of success in all areas of life.
It's never too early to expand your child's vocabulary and playdough provides a perfect opportunity for language development in a fun environment.

INDIRECT LANGUAGE STIMULATION

provides the framework for encouraging your child's language development.

PARALLEL TALK
(about the child)
Describe what the child is doing while it's happening.
(You're mixing the colors. You're making a dinosaur.)

SELF-TALK
(about the adult helper)
Describe what you are doing while you do it.
(I'm pinching the playdough. I'm cutting with a knife.)

DESCRIPTION
(about the objects)
Describe the objects.
(Here's a serrated knife you can use. The blue playdough is dried out.)

EXPANSION
(model the child's own speech, but more correctly)
(The child says "cut it" and you say, "You are cutting it now.")

EXPANSION PLUS
(adding a little more to the child's speech)
(The child says "yellow" and you say, "I'll give you some yellow playdough.")

REPETITION
(repeat child's words, but correctly)
(The child says "It's lellow." and you'd say "It's yellow." as you give it to the child.)

VOCABULARY


Ban the phrase "good job" from your own speech!
Instead, use factual descriptive language to help them develop their own skills and internal motivation, instead of praise that leads to dependency and external motivation.
Too much praise is bad for kids.

Challenge yourself to think of as many new words as possible to use with your child. There's no need to have a test about it -- just modeling a wide variety of excellent language is a great support for your child during the early years.

Here are a few to get you started: lumpy, bumpy, flat, smooth, rough, scratched, cut, poke, rub, measure, weigh, braid, coil, slice, dab, add, remove, roll, move, pinch, smack, pat, prod, absorb, combine, mix, serrated, shape, work, knead, pry, score . . . . . the list is endless!

COMPARATIVE LANGUAGE
Young children need to hear examples of these terms used in context with real activities. Here are a few examples:
big, bigger, biggest
small, smaller, smallest
long, longer, longest
short, shorter, shortest

QUANTITATIVE LANGUAGE
Develop skills in counting and judging amounts. If your child makes playdough cookies, be sure to count them one-by-one. A small scale makes it fun to measure and weigh the dough. Rulers in different lengths and styles let your child practice measuring and reading numerals.

Indirect Language Stimulation PDF

Recommended Reading

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