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The Importance of Play in Language Development

Through play, children develop different areas such as language, motor skills, imagination, socialization, thinking, etc.

There are different stages and types of play.

Between 0-2 years of age, children engage in exploratory, sensory and motor play. During this time, acquired prelinguistic skills allow the child to communicate through crying, laughter, vocalizations, babbling, until the first words are spoken. They begin to know and understand the world around them. During play with others, communicative skills that begin to develop at a very early age such as eye contact, social smiling, proto-conversations, joint attention, imitation, gestures, etc., come into play.

Children playing together

Between 2-7 years of age, the development of symbolic play begins. It consists of simulating situations, objects and characters that are not present at the time of play; at this stage, language and thought become more complex.

And finally, the regulated play, during which pragmatic skills come into play. They teach children to win and lose, to respect turns and rules, and to consider opinions and actions of playmates. 

As parents or caregivers, we can stimulate children's language by sharing daily moments of play with them. Nowadays we live in a world of screens and lack of time, but it is extremely necessary that we become aware that they do not replace our presence or quality of PLAY.


Manzanares Dolores

Speech-language pathologist; Neurolinguistic Orientation; Specialised in communication and language; Specialised in augmentative and alternative communication systems.

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