For young children, a big empty cardboard box is one of the best invitations to play. There’s so many creative things we can do with a box and there’s plenty of ways to squeeze in some language activities while we play. Whether your child is learning their first words, starting to use simple phrases or having full-blown conversations with you, this video will give you some ideas to support them along the way.
First word learners: Model simple phrases that match the activity, for example ‘put it in’ or ‘pull it out’. Or, name each object. A big expectant pause is a useful way to give your child the opportunity to name something, without putting them ‘on the spot’ with a direct question.
Phrase talkers: If your child is starting to use simple phrases, then it’s a great time to model positional language (e.g. in/on/under). Remember to sit next to your child if you use ‘behind’ or ‘next to’, because perspective matters with these more complex position words.
Conversationalists: As your child becomes more confident in chatting with you, it’s a great time to start developing their ability to use more descriptive vocabulary. The ‘clues game’ is a great excuse to practice this. Take turns to give each other clues to guess what’s in the box. You can use some key questions to help you: What do you do with it? Where would you find it? What are its parts? Can you describe it?
Sometimes, the simplest toys are the ones that give us the greatest excuse for conversation. I hope you have fun with these ideas!