Home » Education » Play to Promote Language Development: Get Ready for K Through Play

Play to Promote Language Development: Get Ready for K Through Play

Play as a tool for Language Development – Getting Ready for Kindergarten Through Play

pretend play is a wonderful way to promote language development

I think play is one of the best ways to promote language development! Here are a few fun ways to get your child to talking, thinking, and stretching vocabulary this summer:

Get Outside

Spending time outdoors is one of the best ways to get kids thinking! Nature is as intricate as things come, and being away from electronics and other distractions will open up a world of imaginative possibilities for play. We are very fortunate to have an incredible yard that we spend hours in, but I find that it’s going on walks that really gets my son talking. Do you need something to talk about? How about finding things in your neighborhood that match every color of the neighborhood? My kids also enjoy silly scavenger hunts, looking for things that don’t actually exist in our neighborhood, like fairy shoes and monster claws.


Many five-year-olds will happily listen to chapter books – especially if you read as they are falling asleep or let them play with blocks or draw while they listen.  Reading outside is also very popular with my kids! Right now, Mike is reading (book links in this post are affiliate links) The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to my kids, and they have spent many happy hours playing at being Peter, Susan, and Lucy. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle is on our list to read later this summer (the first book in this series is my favorite). My kids also enjoy listening to audiobooks as they play.

Cook and Bake

Kindergarteners are expected to listen and follow instructions. Cooking and baking is a wonderful way to work on this skill – and great parent-child bonding time as well! You may even find your picky eater is willing to eat more foods if they are the one preparing them!


Get down on the floor and play with your kids! Right now you are incredibly funny and clever in your child’s world – enjoy it while it lasts! Play is a wonderful opportunity to have your child work on their narrative skills, and I find that playing with my kids is a great way to get some insight into what is on their minds.

Work Near Them

Most parents can’t simply play all day – we have other things we need (and want) to get done in the day! Where possible, I try to work near my kids. I still get glimpses of what they are doing, and I can certainly talk to them while I fold the laundry – or crochet.

Get Ready for K Through Play button

This post is the first of eight in the Get Ready for K Through Play series I am working on with Bernadette of Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas, Megan at Coffee Cups and Crayons, Vicky at Mess for Less, Cerys at Rainy Day Mum, and Kristina at Toddler Approved. Here are this week’s posts:

Drop by our Get Ready for K Through Play Pinterest board for more ideas!

What are your favorite ways to get your kids thinking and talking?

MaryAnne is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

15 thoughts on “Play to Promote Language Development: Get Ready for K Through Play”

  1. some great tips! Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle was one of my fave books! I still remember so many of the stories from it…Can’t wait until Bear is old enough that we can read it.

  2. Elisa | blissfulE

    These are all great ideas! Your post reminds me that I want to do more with audio books and reading chapter books aloud.

  3. Reading books aloud with my 4 year old snuggled beside me has to be my favorite part of parenthood. It’s great that he benefits so greatly by doing something I love to do. We’re not quite to chapter books, but I think we’ll soon venture into that category. J loves Dr. Seuss and Curious George. Luckily, there are enough of those to keep us busy.

  4. I love that your kids play the characters from the books they listen to. This is probably the best part about siblings close in age – their creative ideas bounce and fly off each other.

  5. I love your ideas about playing outside. Given that we finally have nice weather, it would be a shame to waste it. After all this rain, it’s different every single day outside too! Love your ideas!

  6. Cool Mom (Christine M.)

    We did a lot of read-alouds at that age and then DD would act out part of the book. I have to laugh as getting my daughter to think and talk has never been a problem – quite the opposite. Working near them is key. As a homeschooling mom, she is rarely very far away from me so I am well informed. Now, at almost 10, she is used to keeping me up to date. Kind of nice. No guesswork. Great post!

  7. I completely agree with all your points. Imaginary play is huge for us and it usually involves characters in our favorite stories. I haven’t tried chapter books with my girls yet – I should try it out and see if they stay interested.

    1. I find that the key to getting little ones interested in chapter books is to have them doing something else (building with blocks, coloring, or playing with play dough) at the same time.

  8. I find if I take one child with me to do errands that they become quite the chatterbox. I really treasure those times and special dates with my kids!

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top