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Encouraging talking in play

You all know I love pretend play. But in my post “How To Pretend” I explain that play, like everything else in child development, moves along a continuum with really complex, free-flowing pretend at the endpoint. Before that comes many different kinds of play, and at the beginning some children have a hard time playing at all. Sometimes due to the age of a child or a child’s developmental level it can be difficult for him to come up with ideas of how to play with toys appropriately or to figure out how they work. Sometimes, children need a little structure around play (gasp!) to take out all of the overwhelming choices, to learn through repetition, and to have adults overlay some language on the actions.