This particular topic is a fundamental part of a child’s early childhood journey. This includes the child expressing their feelings, understanding what someone is saying to them, paying attention when someone is talking to them and responding when someone is talking to them. The early years educator and parents/guardians in giving children various opportunities to communicate are providing children the opportunity to give their thoughts and feelings. This may include a favourite area the child is interested in or maybe it is a discussion on a topic within the home or service that is of major interest to the children. Giving opportunities for language development for young children is a meaningful experience for them. The early years educator should have eye contact when talking to the child and also speak clearly so the child understands what is said to them. This also includes not interrupting the child when they are speaking and allowing them to finish their conversation. Below is a list of games and activities that enhance a child’s communication and language skills.
Activities and games
- Nursery rhymes. For example focusing on one nursery rhyme per week such as Mary had a little lamb on week one and the three little pigs on week two. This may include taking a section of the nursery rhyme each day and including actions. This may follow a discussion on the nursery rhymes, pictures and the rhyme displayed within the service. This could also include instead of Mary had a little lamb changing it to the child’s name. Child A had a little lamb.
- Story time. This is a fun and meaningful way for language and communication skills. This may include questioning, the child’s thoughts and what they think should happen or might happen. This may include questions such as (the three little pigs) Why do you think the little pig built his house with sticks? Would you build your house with sticks? This activity can also be extended with the children building their own little house outdoors using natural materials or a art activity indoors. This opens up the child’s thoughts and feeling of this story. Maybe the child would state “I felt scared” etc.
- Blowing bubbles.
- Chinese whispers. A very fun activity for children and understanding that when you talk quietly sometimes people hear things differently.
- Each child saying a line to a story. For example, The early years educator may start off by saying “Mary was playing outside in the garden”, then each child states a line e.g. Child A may say “Mary was playing with her pet dog Rex”.
- Point and tell activity. Each child point to a item and explains a little about it. This includes each child saying a different item. For example, Child A points to the table and says “The table is red and (counts that the table has four legs), it has four legs and I eat my snack at that table.
- A direction game. This would include the practitioner telling the children the different directions. Each child would then direct another child to a particular area. For example Child A is directing child B to the library corner. Child A tells Child B to go straight, then go right and then forward. This could also include directions on the floor, a simple map and hints for the child. It could also be done in the outdoor environment.
- Picture story time. This would include a discussion of what is happening in the picture, people’s facial expressions and items within the picture. For example, Child A “do you think the little girl is happy in the story”. “Why do you think that”. or point items in the picture “Child B point two items that you can eat in the picture” or Child C “point two items of clothing in the story”.
- For older children creating a little presentation on a particular topic. For example, a class trip or something the class has done and presenting their topic.
- Show and tell. Each child brings one item each and tells the class about their item and demonstrates their item.
- Each morning asking the children “How are you feeling today ” and “why are you feeling that way”?
- A discussion each day on the weather, day, month and any news.
- Blindfold a child and describe a object. This includes clues such as “the object has leaves” and “birds build nests in these”
- Turn taking games with peers.
- Sand and water play – great communication games.
- Construction play.
- A topic each week based on areas of interest . e.g. Child A is interested in dinosaurs. This may include child A telling the other children the types of dinosaurs and their favourite dinosaur.
- A old telephone within the role play area. e.g. doctors surgery or restaurant.
- Mirror game – this includes two children in a pair. One child looks in the mirror and makes a facial expression, the other child describes the child looking in the mirrors face and they swap.
- Asking questions during play. “what are you making”
- Circle time activities such as what is missing game. This includes picking five items from the room. With a cloth remove one item. Then ask the children what is missing.
“Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words but by experiences in the environment”