The Value of Play: A Guided Play Activity
In my last blog, I explained the difference between FREE PLAY and GUIDED PLAY. Below is an example of a guided play activity for a toddler/young child.
BLOCKS AND PRETEND ANIMALS: The activity helps the child learn new vocabulary of zoo animals and to also teach the concepts of in/out and up/down.
Blocks can be used to build pretend houses, caves or trees. The animals can go “in” and “out” of the structures. By following the child’s lead, it might end up that the animals are hungry and need to eat pretend food or the animals might chase each other and then get tired and need to go to sleep.
Depending on the child’s level of communication, the SLP might say simple repetitive phrases, such as “lion in”; “giraffe in”; “night-night elephant”; “night –night tiger”; “wake up elephant”; “wake up tiger”, or many other short two-word phrases. If the child is commenting and saying one word, the SLP might repeat this word and add another word or two to model an expanded or longer phrase.
During this guided play activity, the SLP is not giving any directions, such as “put this block here”, but is instead making comments and following the child’s lead. Again, the goal is to not ask a lot of questions, but instead comment/label and imitate and expand the sounds, actions and words of the child.
A Speech Language Pathologist can provide specific information regarding a child’s current level of communication. He /she can model examples of play activities and provide more specific and in-depth techniques. These techniques may involve balancing and waiting, matching, and responding in ways that give a child a reason to play and stay connected and keep communicating. The end goal is to foster language development and relationship skills – without taking the fun out of learning and being together!
Written by Rhonda Granger, MA, CCC-SLP, Lead Clinical Speech Language Pathologist, Delaware Speech and Hearing Center
Check out our last blog: The Value of Play