Play with Language
I used to work at a language clinic in a NYC hospital teaching children (ages 5-11) who had difficulty understanding language. None of the children could read so I had my artistic husband, Bill, make step-by-step drawings of food play for the kids to follow.
Cutting up fruit gave us an opportunity to talk about shapes and colors.
We also talked about how it felt to touch the fruit- soft, squishy and juicy were words they loved learning, as any child would.
These children had trouble understanding language-what was said to them and an even harder time making themselves understood.
Every child, even those who are developing language at a rapid rate, learn to say new words while enjoying food play.
Food is a successful and satisfying way to stimulate conversation and motivate children to pay attention. Use simple language and visuals to explain the sequence of what you’re going to make. Children learn new words when they are using their bodies and acting out what they are learning. For example, as they squeeze oranges to make orange juice they learn words like… first, then, squeeze, wet, juicy and sticky.
When you and your child are engaged in food play, you’ll be surprised at the new words they will remember and use.