The tea party set is a regular toy found in my speech and language therapy bag. There are so many skills we can practice with this type of play and it is universally popular with the kids I meet.
In this video I share several ideas for making the most of tea party play to build language and communication skills.
Action words are a great thing to focus on within food play. When your child learns more action words, it’s easier for them to start joining words together. You might model words like chop, squish, stir, or social action words like help and share.
You can also model simple phrases about what we’re doing, which helps children learn simple instructions, like ‘Let’s give an apple to teddy’.
Play food is also useful to practice sorting. Understanding how items can be grouped and organised is helpful for developing a child’s semantic network, their internal word bank. You could try sorting things into sweet and savoury, or hard and squishy food.
We can also practise social exchanges within tea party, e.g. please and thank you, would you like one, let’s share, let’s give one to…
We can also practise problem-solving within tea party. If we introduce a problem we can talk together about how we might fix it, e.g. ‘We only have one strawberry but teddy and cat both want some… What shall we do?!’
Tea party play can also be all about banging stuff together! That exploratory play is really valuable for learning and development too.
If you and your little one enjoy play food and tea parties, then check out my video on making playdough cupcakes.