5 tips for using Playdoh to support your child's talking

Playdoh is one of my most favourite things to do with my own little girl. It's one of the few things which keeps her in the same place for more than 5 minutes; she's happy because I'm playing with her and I'm happy because I get to have a cup of tea at the same time. It's also a great opportunity to extend her language skills.

It doesn't matter whether your playdoh is homemade or shop bought, but ideally you will have a variety of cutters to use with it e.g. a plastic knife, different shape cutters, a rolling pin.

If you'd like to have a go at making your own it's not too difficult to do, but personally I love our shop bought set because it makes it a quick activity which we can reach for at any time. We have this one from amazon which is pretty much a complete set as it includes 10 pots of different colour playdoh, a little rolling pin and loads of different cutters which are great for learning different words. As long as you put the lids back on the pots the playdoh stays soft and pliable for ages.

If you are ready to get started with your playdoh, here are 5 tips for how to use it to extend your child's language skills:

1) Let your child lead. It's tempting to try and teach your child how to 'correctly' play, or to give them a hundred great suggestions of things they can do with playdoh. However if you want to support their language skills you need to make sure they are not so busy following your instructions that they don't learn any words.

2) Use simple language to describe what your child is making with the playdoh, so that they link the words you are saying with what they are doing. You might say 'you are cutting a star' or 'you have used lots of colours it looks great'.

3) Extend your child's vocabulary by using lots of action words (verbs) to describe what they are doing. You could use words like 'rolling' 'squashing' 'kneeding' 'cutting' 'breaking' 'sticking'

4) Further extend your child's vocabulary by using lots of describing words (adjectives) which give labels to what they can see. Try words such as 'soft' 'hard' 'heavy' 'thin' 'fat' 'flat' 'lumpy' 'big' 'little'

5) Use your imagination. If your child makes a car, pretend it's going on a journey, if they make a cat pretend it's hungry and wants some milk, if they make a star pretend the rolling pin is a rocket going into space. This gives you extra things to talk about, and also supports your child's imagination which is linked to language development.

If you would like further tips on how how to use commenting to support your child's language development, see this post about matching your language level to your child's

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