Best Youtube Channel for Kids: Learning and Having Fun

Sometimes, life can get really busy. Don’t you agree? As much as we like our kids to do stuff like arts and crafts, we can’t help but give the screen to them. That is of course, when it is only necessary. We should limit our screen time with our toddlers. However, why not maximize the screen time by letting them watch these best youtube channel for kids?



Also read: 5 Things You Didn’T Know About The Good Doctor and Autism

Best Youtube Channel for Kids

I will be listing my top 4 best youtube channel for kids that will help them in learning basic skills. Plus, they will be having fun listening and singing along at the same time.

Dream English Kids 

I discovered Mr. Matt early in my years as a Speech Therapist when I was finding songs that sing about daily activities. It turns out that he had so much songs about learning concepts! He had songs about rooms of the house, opposites, action words, and such. Although I can’t imagine myself making up kids songs like Matt and acting them out, he is one helpful guy. Thank you Mr. Matt!

Super Simple Songs

This channel is one of my super favorites! They’re super catchy, super nice graphics and overall just super. Some of their songs are so educational and useful in speech therapy. They really know how to make catchy tunes that my students love. Most of my kids would request to sing a song from this channel before we start our lesson. You can find so many useful songs here such as the “Bath song” or “Do you like Broccoli ice cream” (for yes and no questions).




Little Baby Bum

Little Baby Bum was recommended by a parent as her child enjoys watching the songs on this channel. They have really cute child-friendly graphics and very educational topics. Some of them might be more just for fun, so you just have to sift through. Make sure that the songs also say the words clearly. They also have some really good songs such as this one about getting dressed.

ChuChu TV

This channel has also been helpful in helping my students learn how to describe objects. For example, this watermelon and fruits song. This song teaches about the various fruits and their shapes and colors. They learn, but the best part of it is that they’re getting it faster since the songs are catchy!

Best Youtube Channel for Kids: Tips to Maximize Learning

In order to maximize learning, don’t forget to…

  1. Sing the song with your child along with the video – to increase interaction
  2. Describe what is happening in the video in idle moments – “Look! The monkey is wearing his shirt!”
  3. Make up gestures or follow gestures being done by the characters – improves motor skills and planning

Other recommendations

If Youtube is not accessible or you would want the classic versions of the nursery rhymes, here is something I recommend:

 
50 Nursery Rhyme Songs

Amazon Digital Offers this whole set of nursery rhyme classics for only 5.99. This is a good deal for parents who like to sing the songs with their children with accompaniment or on days where you can’t Youtube, or you’re on a long trip with your child.

Do you have other recommendations? Did you find this post useful? I would love it if you share it to other parents who might find it useful! Leave us a comment down below if you have other questions. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our blog for more tips, insight and advice on speech therapy and child education! 🙂

5 Things You Didn’t Know About The Good Doctor and Autism

1. The Good Doctor and Autism

The Good Doctor is the recently released show from ABC. It is actually a remake of the Korean Drama with the same name and story. The premise is a young man who is very brilliant in the field of medicine. Dr. Sean Murphy has been diagnosed with Autism since he was young. He has a passion in helping others through medicine, however, he faces challenges in thriving because of his condition. He has problems socializing and understanding others, and some of his colleagues question his expertise because he is not the typical doctor.




2. Dr. Sean Murphy’s Autism used to be called Asperger’s Syndrome

We can see that Dr. Murphy is very smart, and may have no trouble excelling academically. In the previous years, anyone who has problems socializing but shows good skills in other areas were diagnosed as having “Asperger’s Syndrome”. However, in the recent years, they removed the term and used a bigger umbrella to generalize it as Autism. In the May 2013 edition of DSM-V diagnosis manual, Asperger’s Syndrome was nowhere to be found. How does this affected the parents and families?

Of course, it had mixed reactions. People who aren’t aware or accepting of Autism don’t want their children to be labeled in the same umbrella. That is why we as professionals and people close to the community are shedding light to Autism’s awareness and acceptance because we don’t want those stigmas to stay in the generations to come.

3. There are other people like him

Stephen Wiltshire, is a young man with Autism who has amazing photographic memory. He can look at a landscape view of New York or any other city for some 10-20 minutes and he can draw the whole city without reference afterwards in great detail. How cool is that?

Daniel Tammet is also a young man who was diagnosed with seizures and Autism at the age of 4. Growing up he had a fascination with numbers and can recite the value of Pi (3.14…) up to the 20,000th decimal from memory.

Here is a video of Autism-Savants with their skills.

However…

4. Autism-Savant Syndrome is only 10% of the Whole Autism Population

I am happy with how mainstream TV shows are finally shedding light to Autism and how they manifest and affect children. However, what Dr. Sean Murphy represents is only 10% of the whole Autism population. We can see that he is, for the world’s standards, very smart; and he has troubles only with interacting to others. He is too literal and honest, and he doesn’t look at the eye too much. But beyond the TV set and the drama, what most people don’t see is the other face of Autism.

Calming Autism Sensory LED Light Projector Toy Relax Blue Night Music Projection

The silent kind, or the kind that hits or throws a fit when frustrated. They are the most who want their voices to be heard. I am elated that this is the beginning. I hope that someday someone will represent the other 90% of the population so that other people will see the diversity of who they are.

5. Autism is Like a Rainbow

Womens The Official “Autism Awareness Elephant” Rainbow T-shirt XL Black

Autism in its whole terminology is called Autism Spectrum Disorder. Even through it is just one term, it covers a whole wide range of individuals showing different characteristics and abilities. Just like the colors of the rainbow, one color does represent only a portion of the rainbow. How beautiful can a rainbow be if we represented all of the colors? I wish that the other colors will shine like what Dr. Murphy represents. I hope that there will be no more room for ignorance, discrimination, and ridicule towards the beautiful colors that each of these individuals represent in their rainbow.



Did you like this article? What are your thoughts? Was the TV show a good representation of Autism?

Leave us a comment below!

Social Skills Activities: How Can I Make My Child Greet Others?

What are social skills?

A child who is cognitively adept does not necessarily mean that he can socialize well. What does this mean? Well… this means that her academic abilities are separate from all other areas of learning. He may lack social skills. This is why we need social skills activities to help.




Social skills is the ability to interact with others, resolve conflict, pick up non-verbal cues such as eye contact, body language or other gestures. When a child has good socialization, it means that he can think of what others are thinking when he says or does something.

Some kids can be really smart, but can be really off when it comes to social interaction. A good example of that would be Dr. Sean Murphy of The Good Doctor if you’ve heard of the recent buzz on the show. Or Sheldon Cooper of Big Bang Theory… more like the young Sheldon.

Read Also:

He Only Says “Mommy”: 3 Ways To Expand Vocabulary

The problem with learning and social skills activities

The main problem is that most of the learning in a typical environment are just inferences and implications. Errr… a little too complex, eh? Well…

Let me explain.

When we first learned that saying “you’re arrogant” to someone might hurt their feelings, it wasn’t explained to us face to face that it wasn’t something appropriate to do. We just learned by experience that saying certain words will hurt others and we generalized that idea.

See, for kids who have problems, they have difficulties understanding that idea. They need to be taught the dynamics of interaction like you would teach calculus or history to a person.




Some Social Skills Activities to Help

The good thing is, social skills activities can be done to help, if you are consistent and the child already learns how to reason to some extent. Here are some simple things to help.

Disclaimer: These strategies are basic in nature and may or may not help your child. It is still best to seek help from a professional in your local area.

use of social stories

Hello There Jane
Hello There, Jane! on PDF format
Hello There, Jane!: A Book on Greeting Others– Kindle Format

Social stories are those which have lessons about social skills. These include lessons on greeting others, thinking about your actions, saying the right words, etc. From these stories, children can learn how to interact in an appropriate way. I made an e-book, which is illustrated by my mom, and it is a social story on greeting others, titled “Hello there, Jane!”. The story explains why people greet and what others feel when you greet them or not. You can find the book in Teachers Pay Teachers (PDF) or in Amazon Kindle (Kindle version).

using the “what do you think would she feel” card

Let’s Be Friends: A Workbook to Help Kids Learn Social Skills and Make Great Friends

One cornerstone of learning social skills is thinking of what other people are thinking. If you are aware of this, the more you try to act more appropriately. To increase a child’s awareness, you may ask this question more often and provide answers if necessary.

Understanding Emotions

You can use flash cards to teach various emotions to your child. It is important to use flashcards of different people but same emotions like this one:

Stages Learning Materials Language Builder Emotion Picture Cards Expressions, Conversation, and Situation Photo Cards for Autism Education, ABA Therapy

This is because we want the child to generalize the same emotion across varying faces. You can ask questions like “What does she feel in this picture?” “What do you think made her happy? Sad?”

Hope it helps!

I hope you enjoyed this post, and don’t forget to share to other parents or people who may need it. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to my blog if you want more info, tips and inspiration speech therapy.

 

 

 

 

He Only Says “Mommy”: 3 Ways To Expand Vocabulary

Poor Vocabulary?

“He only says ‘mommy, daddy, milk. That’s about it.” I hear it all the time. When getting case histories of my students, the most common concern is that the child only expresses himself using 5-10 set of words. The most common one would be “mommy”, “daddy”, “car”, “milk”, or other things that the child commonly looks for. This scenario is commonly described as the child having a limited vocabulary.




Typically, when a child develops his speech mechanism around the age of 1.5 to 2 years, there’s a sudden “boom” in speech and language development. It is the stage where the child acquires new words by learning through his environment. When there is a lack of stimulation or if the child has a developmental condition, this word “boom” is not observed by the parents. Hence, they find professionals to help them address this concern.

There are simple strategies that you can do at home which may be very effective, especially when partnered with seeking help from a professional (speech therapist, developmental pediatrician). Here I will list three simple strategies that you can use to improve your child’s vocabulary.

Also read: Not Speaking Does Not Mean Not Thinking

Read Books with Your Child

A simple but often overlooked activity that you can do to improve your child’s vocabulary is by reading books. If your child is younger, try books which can engage in more than 2 senses. For example, touch and sight. There are various play books which contain small toys or detachable objects. My favorite one would be My Big Day:

Quiet Book By Curious Columbus. Best Educational Toy For Toddlers, Early Learning and Preschool Boys and Girls. Soft Fabric Busy Book For Sensory, Fine Motor Skills and Pretend Play

Every page has simple detachable parts. Even when there is no text, you can describe the activity with your child and he learns more words from there.

Another interesting one would be lift the flap and audio books. Good examples of those would be:

 First 100 Words Lift-the-Flap: Over 35 Fun Flaps to Lift and Learn

 Simple First Words Let’s Talk

Lift the flap books contain an element of surprise in which the child would want to do himself, and it keeps him engaged. Audio books are also interesting because it has buttons that a child can press and he can hear a word or a phrase.

Talk a Lot!

I know this may sound simple, but it is really effective! Humans learn through social observations. How can a child pick up words if he has nobody to hear it from? We always advice parents to just keep on talking to their child during play, or even during the most mundane tasks like brushing teeth, wearing clothes and such. You can describe his activities by repeatedly using the same word in varying sentences to allow the child to hear the word over and over again.

This technique is called info talk, and it will increase the child’s exposure to more words, and hence will also increase his chances of using them. There are more tips and techniques on how to talk with toddlers.

Listen to Children’s Songs

There’s a reason why there are songs made specifically for children. It’s because children are usually engaged to catchy songs! Being an educator, I can attest to that. I can get the attention of most children just by letting them hear a catchy tune. It will be more interesting for them if you show them how to do the gestures, if there’s any. Some of the children’s favorites are the Old McDonald, Wheels on the Bus, and If You’re Happy and You Know It. These songs help children pick up words that they can use more for everyday.

There you go! Three simple things that you can start at home. Be sure to do this consistently to help your child develop his vocabulary. If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to comment below.

Picky Eater? 4 Simple Ways to Help Your Child

Even I have no child yet of my own, I understand the struggles of moms and dads when it comes to feeding their kids. It is a fact that a child can be a firm picky eater especially in his or her early years. In this blog, I will discuss the kinds of picky eaters and 4 simple ways to gradually introduce new varieties of food.

Disclaimer: This information is very basic in nature and may contribute only to a certain extent. It is best to consult the help of a developmental pediatrician and an occupational therapist to address to your child’s needs.

Behavioral Picky Eater vs. Sensorial Picky Eater

Raising a Healthy, Happy Eater: A Parent’s Handbook: A Stage-by-Stage Guide to Setting Your Child on the Path to Adventurous Eating

There may be a fine line between a child who just doesn’t want to eat just for personal preferences, and a child who is aversive to certain textures or tastes. However, there may be a difference that you want to observe. List down the kinds of food that your child eats. If you notice that your child mostly prefers food with a certain taste (sweets mostly, savory mostly, gags on food with certain spices, etc.) or textures (crunchy, mushy, aversion to slimy), this can be a sensorial issue. If you also notice that there are only certain clothing textures that he likes, or touch consistent surfaces, this might also an underlying sensory issue. But if you don’t notice any patterns, and only prefers some food items because he was not introduced to certain varieties (e.g prefers chips, french fries, chocolates, fast food, hard candies, mashed potatoes) this may just be a behavioral issue.

Also read:

Play Toys: Top 5 Useful Ones for Speech

4 Ways to Introduce New Foods

Forcing a child to eat something that he doesn’t like usually doesn’t work, and gives off a negative association. Here are some simple ways to introduce new food items to your child in a positive way.

Model Eating the New Food

Helping Your Child with Extreme Picky Eating: A Step-by-Step Guide for Overcoming Selective Eating, Food Aversion, and Feeding Disorders

Children learn by imitation, so the more they observe the more they want to copy. Let your child join you in meal times, with his food in a plate at the middle of the table along with yours. When he asks for his usual, ask if he wants to try the other dishes on the table. If he sees you eating the new food, he may be curious to know what it tastes like.

Making Food Time Fun

EasyLunchboxes 3-Compartment Bento Lunch Box Containers, Set of 4, Classic

If you have heard of Bento lunches, this can be a good idea to encourage your child to eat healthy. It doesn’t have to be too complicated. You can make silly faces using for example a cherry tomatoes for eyes and a zucchini strip for a smile! Be creative in your presentation and this may help your child our in trying new foods.

Incorporating Ingredients and Cooking Styles

Kikkoman Tempura Batter Mix, 10-Ounce (Pack of 6)

For example, your picky eater prefers burger patties. You can introduce new items to your child’s palate by modifying some ingredients. You can make a mushroom-beef burger patty. If he likes shrimp tempura, maybe you can also try vegetable tempura. Try to incorporate new ingredients on your child’s favorite food or use the same cooking style. Eventually, she will get used it.

Offer Healthier Choices

The reason why some picky eaters prefer only junk food or unhealthy choices is because it’s a choice that’s available or seen in the pantry! So if you avoid making those choices available, and offer two healthy choices instead (e.g. “Do you want some carrot sticks and cheese, or turkey ham tortilla wrap?” Since you offered these choices without making the others available, she will most likely pick one that she prefers.

I hope these tips help! If you have questions, you can leave comments below and I will be happy to reply.

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One Special Angel Baby T-Shirt – Store Feature

One Special Angel Shirt
One Special Angel Shirt

One Special Angel

We all have special angels in our lives. Whether it’s a little boy or a little girl, we know deep down in our hearts that we love them to the moon and back. They are the angels in our lives, the apple of our eyes. This design is made to express the love that we have for them. One Special Angel is a design made by hand, with the text “One special Angel” accompanied with wings and halo. The shirt is ideal for babies and small kids. When you go to Zazzle, you can customize it on other products as well.

You can place the items on kids shirts, mugs, and even adults shirts. There are also merchandise such as cards, key chains, buttons and even ornaments. This can be a perfect gift to someone you know who has a special child, and is proud to have one. In Teach and Love, we care for children with special needs, and we like to make them feel happy, loved and empowered. Whether you’re a parent, a friend or someone who is an advocate of the children with disabilities, you can help make a difference by increasing awareness.

Click on the icon below to shop for this product!

Play Toys: Top 5 Useful Ones for Speech

As a child, there’s nothing I liked more than playing pretend play toys. I love pretend play because it is limitless and it gives me a role different from being ‘just a kid’. I also got to know other children. Later on in life, I realized that pretend play wasn’t only fun, it’s also beneficial for children. You can read up on the benefits of pretend play in my other post.

There are several pretend play toys, but which one is the most useful of them all, and beneficial to your child’s language needs? I will list here the top 5 pretend play toys that you can play at home with your child.

Cooking set

I hope we can soon remove the stigma that cooking set is only for girls! The cooking set can help you and your child learn the most common vocabulary, social exchanges, and use of objects in the ‘feeding’ setting. He can learn how to use a fork, knife, plate, napkin, cup, etc. He can take turns cooking and feeding with you. You can ask questions about what he is eating or cooking. A nice, sturdy, wooden cooking set toy is most long-lasting and safe. Some sturdy plastic ones are also good. My favorite ones are from Melissa and Doug.

cooking set play toysMelissa & Doug 17-Piece Deluxe Wooden Cooktop Set With Wooden Play Food, Durable Pot and Pan

Tip: Choose cooking sets with with toy food included so you don’t have to spend extra.

Hygiene / Bathroom set

I wonder why most toy companies barely make hygiene sets? These are great way for children to learn vocabulary and use of objects about things that they use in the bathroom or things for grooming. When I look at toy stores, I rarely find these, but thankfully there are board puzzles or actual toy sets dedicated for the bathroom setting.

hygiene set play toysFisher-Price Laugh & Learn Let’s Get Ready Sink

House and Community Toys

When I was a kid, I loved those little Polly Pocket sets that have little rooms where Polly can eat, play or sleep. They also have bigger ones that include a whole store like a bakery or shopping mall. It was so fun to play! For a less gender biased brand, I recommend Playmobil sets. Playmobil is made of sturdy plastic materials.

playmobil playground play toysPLAYMOBIL Playground Set

Disclaimer: Read the cautionary message about the age-appropriateness of toys. Considering your child’s mental age, think about what suitable to use for your child. This blog and the owner will not be responsible for the possible hazards that small parts may cause.

Role Play Toys and Costumes

Role play and costumes are not just for Halloween, they are also for play. A way to make it more educational and functional is for you to pick costumes that involve community helpers. You can pick ones such as a doctor, fireman, chef, policeman, or baker. You can be the person in need of service and your child can pretend to be the community helper. Here’s one of the nice role play sets.

fireman costume play toysKangaroo’s Role Play Firefighter Costume & Fireman Toys Kit (11 Pc)

Blocks

wooden blocks play toysMelissa & Doug Wooden Building Blocks Set – 100 Blocks in 4 Colors and 9 Shapes

There’s no limit in a child’s imagination when playing blocks. Blocks can be anything! It can be a tower, a house, or even a dinosaur! You can both build something together, or build one each and do show and tell. For the smaller kids, Mega blocks will be most suitable or bigger wooden blocks. For kids past the choking hazards, Lego will be a great way for them to have fun and learn.

These are just some of the fun toys that can help you develop language through play! If you have questions or want to say something, don’t hesitate to comment below. I will be glad to help.

Echolalia: Does Your Child Repeat Your Questions?

You’ve seen children do it at some point. They rehearse lines they heard from a TV show, or repeat a verse from a song. You will hear them repeat a question you ask instead of answering. This phenomenon is called echolalia or parroting.

What is Echolalia?

Echolalia is more technically defined as the act of repeating vocalizations, words or phrases said by another person. It can happen to adults or children. However, I would like to focus on this behavior with regards to children. There are varying ways to classify echolalic behaviors. I will list the most common ones which may be most useful to us.

Communicative vs. Semi-communicative

Communicative echolalia is observed to be words or phrases repeated as a response to a question being asked. It appears to have a clear purpose and there is an intent behind it. If the child says “Do you want milk?” while pointing to a milk carton, she may mean that she likes milk and she is trying to convey that by repeating a line she heard before.

My Toddler Talks: Strategies and Activities to Promote Your Child’s Language Development

Semi-communicative echolalia is observed to be repeated lines which appear to be out of context or does not have a clear intent. You may see a child playing with his wooden blocks and suddenly says “Good goes round and round!” referring to the Cheerios jingle. It appears to have an unclear connection to what he is presently doing.

There are other ways to classify echolalic behaviors. There is delayed echolalia where a child hears something and repeats it after quite sometime. Immediate echolalia is when a child instantly repeats a phrase heard from a person who is interacting with him.

Why Do Children Echo?

Children have these behaviors primarily because they imitate to learn. It’s commonly a good sign when children echo typically around 1-2 years. It means they are learning lines and phrases which can be used in proper contexts. However, it can be a problem when a child persists to echo at around 3 years old and above. It can also be a problem when echoing replaces majority of their novel speech. Echoing may also be problematic when most of the repetitions have out-of-context content.

Also read Play is Serious Business: How Play Helps in Learning Language

Some Simple Strategies

We can minimize echolalic behaviors by applying some of these simple techniques at home.

Disclaimer: These techniques are basic in nature and might not apply to some situations. If the problem still persists, it is still best for parents to have their children consulted by a developmental pediatrician to assess their case. The doctor will recommend appropriate treatment and referrals to a therapist if needed.

Talking with Your Toddler: 75 Fun Activities and Interactive Games that Teach Your Child to Talk

Modelling the appropriate line

If a child says “Do you want a cookie?” with the intent of asking for a cookie, it is best to model the correct question: “May I have a cookie?” before handing the item. The child will eventually learn through repetition that the latter question should be used.

Pauses and cues

If a child repeats “What’s your name?” when he is asked “What’s your name?”, ask the question again right before he echoes. Cue for him to pause and give the correct answer. Ask again, but this time, try to wait for him if he thinks of the correct response. You can use cues such as the first sound of his name or pointing to him. An example of an exchange would be:

You: “Hello. What’s your name?”

James: “What’s your name?”

You: “Let’s try again. What’s your name?” -cues to pause- “James.”

James: “James.”

You: “Good! What’s your name?” -points to James- “Ja-”

James: “James.”

These simple techniques can reduce some forms of echolalia and help children to respond better. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to comment below! I will be happy to reply.

Also, if you prefer a video version, here is one in my Youtube Channel :

Not Speaking Does Not Mean Not Thinking

It’s an automatic misconception. When we see children who cannot speak, we often think that his thinking abilities are far less than his speaking peers. Of course this is possible in some cases, but more often, it is false. Being a speech therapist for quite some time has taught me through observation that some children can think far beyond what they can say, if only we can learn to tap the FORM of COMMUNICATION suitable for them. To make it clear, I will be discussing some points related to this myth.

  1. Language is Not Equal to Speech

To put it simple, Language is the code, and speech is one way of expressing the code. A child cannot speak if he doesn’t learn the code first. Of course it is possible for him to copy some words but without the code, it is meaningless. Speech is only one way of showing that you know the code, or the language. Some parents get frustrated when their child can’t speak because this is the norm. However, I want us to be open-minded when it comes to this topic because we are not thinking about what others are thinking, we are thinking about what is best for the child.

2. There are Other ways to communicate

Now that established that speech is just one way of expressing oneself, I want us to be open to other ways. The are other forms of communication such as gestures or use of sign, writing, use of communication cards, or a use of an electronic device. This can be the main form of communication, or it can be used to supplement as the child as learning to speak gradually. It will strengthen the child’s ability to connect what he knows to how he can express it. I will discuss alternative forms of communication in another post some time.

TalkTablet – speech/autism/aphasia/AAC

3. Do not shy away from other forms of communication

I encourage parents who see little or very slow progress in speech to try other forms of communication. Do not shy away from it! Studies show that alternative forms of communication does not stop them from speaking but rather help them to organize and formulate their thoughts to speak. I will be honest–there will be children who will always have difficulties speaking. Having an alternative or augmentative form of communication to learn is a great way for them to express themselves and to lessen their frustration.

Large PECS Communication Book (Picture Exchange Communication System)

4. Speech is not the end-all be-all

I hope that parents will understand that sometimes, the end goal of speech therapy is not always for their child to talk fluently–but rather for them to communicate better in whatever possible means they can. If the child is physically and cognitively capable to speak, then well and good! But if not, it is time for us to think how we can make our child functional, happy and productive. You see, at the end of the day, it is better for us to focus on what is “truly” best for them rather than what we “think” is best.

I will show you a video of a young man named Dillan. Dillan has a non-verbal form of Autism. Throughout his life, he was not able to speak in clear sentences. However, through the use of an iPad with a program for communication, he was able to express his thoughts! The way he thinks is so profound, even more profound than some typical young boys his age!

I wonder, how much more children we can help if we learn to open our minds and find OTHER ways to help them tap their fullest potential?

Check out the video version in my Youtube channel:

Play is Serious Business: How Pretend Play Helps in Learning Language

I did not know the importance of pretend play until I was actually a speech therapist. Back then, I thought you needed to teach a child his ABCs and 123s as early as possible to consider him or her bright. I did not know that in order for them to learn all those academic stuff, they still need to have some prerequisites and actually *more important* things they have to learn than everything we see in text books.

So for starters, I would like to define first what pretend play or symbolic play is. To put it simply:

Melissa & Doug Doctor Role Play Costume Dress-Up Set (7 pcs)

Pretend Play is the act of using toys to depict real-life situations during play time. It can be something as simple as using an object to pretend it is something else (e.g. a box for a pretend house), or make-believe conversations between peers as well.

Before a child can learn the ABCs and 123s in a functional way, it is very much more ideal for them to learn how to play first. You can notice that children who has a more complex form of play can converse better, have wider imaginations and have better social skills. Here are the top reasons why you should encourage your child to do pretend play:

1.) Play is associated with language

Melissa & Doug Food Groups – 21 Hand-Painted Wooden Pieces and 4 Crates

There have been several evidences that play and language are highly interrelated. This is because children learn concepts mostly through play. They also learn how to use objects by observing adults and playing it on their own using pretend toys. This is how they learn names of things, action words, describing words and all other concepts through play.

2.) Play improves problem solving skills

Melissa & Doug Standard Unit Solid-Wood Building Blocks With Wooden Storage Tray (60 pcs)

When a child is stacking blocks like a fort and seems to notice that it doesn’t seem to keep its ground when he makes it higher, he finds a way to build it more firmly, and most of the time, he finds it out on his own, otherwise he observes others. Play gives many opportunities for a child to have better problem solving skills as well.

3.) Play helps in social skills

Little Tikes Hide and Seek Climber and Swing

As I worked with children for several years, I have seen how they learn language, behavior and social patterns when they observe their peers. Students who are more exposed to interact with other children get to observe many social constructs such as taking roles, sharing, compromising, cooperating, waiting for their turns and many more. There are so many benefits of pretend play when it comes to social skills.

4. ) Play helps them to have fun, while learning!

Magnetic Snakes and Ladders Set – Medium

Learning is more meaningful when kids have fun doing it. Instead of bombarding them with boring lessons, why don’t you include play in their learning? They will surely remember more things and at the same time it won’t feel like they are studying.

I guess the age-old saying that “all work and no play” makes us dull, not just us, but kids as well! Play is really a serious business, because through it children can absorb a lot of things that will come in handy when they grow up.

If you learned something new and want to share this information to a parent or a teacher, please do so.