Toys For Language Learning in The Preschool and Primary School Years
During the preschool and primary years, young children are growing daily in their understanding of language. One thing that teachers can do to help stimulate language learning is to provide a variety of toys that children can use in their play. While virtually every piece of play equipment has the potential to stimulate language learning, some seem to be used most productively by young children. Four examples of this type are:
- Puppets. Handheld puppets are fascinating to many children. As soon as they pick them up, they begin a running dialogue with others as they speak through the puppet. Even many shy children find this an easy way to engage in social communications with others.
- Telephones. By their very nature, telephones encourage young children to pretend they are calling and talking to someone else. These conversations with peers and teachers give children many opportunities to speak, listen, and learn more about the rules that govern social interactions.
- Tape recorders. Children are often amazed to hear themselves on audiotape. Once instructed on the proper use of a tape recorder, they can enjoy making endless recordings of communications with others.
- Electronic toys. Many of the "talking" electronic toys available today provide numerous opportunities for young children to hear sounds and words spoken and then practice repeating them in a game-like format.
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