My child doesn’t play. Or talk. 6 Effective Play Ideas – Solution #5: What you and your child can MAKE.

You want to interact and play with your child, but he doesn’t talk and he is difficult to engage. He doesn’t play with his toys or engage in purposeful activity or meaningful play.

In the previous 4 posts, we explored the importance of WHO YOU ARE as your child’s best play partner or ‘toy’,  how to use WHAT YOU ALREADY HAVE and DO AT HOME to facilitate interaction with your child towards communication and language development, and WHAT YOU CAN COLLECT, which comes in handy now:

So what can you MAKE together? And how can you become CREATIVE with what you have and what you can collect? Why is this so important? Making things is important, because it involves using the hands and the hands are important, because ‘grasping’ something with our hands is directly related to ‘grasping’ it with our mind, which is the foundation of thinking and talking. Doing things with their hands is essential for all young children and the basis of language development. For a child with delayed language development it is even more important.

An easy place is to start in the KITCHEN. There are lots of ways to involve your child more actively when you are cooking: he can put the potatoes in the pot, stir the soup or cake mixture, peel a cucumber or cut tomatoes. Here are some simple cooking ideas that many children would love:

  • pizza: collect the ingredients you and your child likes and place them on the base
  • bake a cake or biscuits or cup cakes
  • make fish cakes: mix mashed potato with some cooked fish, form into patties and fry
  • cook frittata using some cooked vegetables mixed with some eggs and fried in a pan
  • make a salad
  • sprouting seeds and watching them grow, before eating them in a salad

For simple SENSORY PLAY, that can be all-absorbing as well as interactive and symbolic, you could

  • make your own play dough together
  • play with clay or plasticine, which allows you to form more intricate designs than with play dough, like a dog or a bicycle or a man with glasses

With RECYCLING or other things you can COLLECT you can

  • create repeating patterns, e.g. pine cone – toilet roll – pine cone – toilet roll – pine cone …
  • cut up egg boxes and use the ‘points’ for threading onto a stick
  • large cardboard boxes: sit inside,  make into a car, a house, to make into a pretend cooker …
  • small cardboard boxes can become a dolls’ bed or a teddy’s car
  • toilet rolls are great for threading, cutting into rings and make into chains

CRAFT activities using wool and felt are great for little hands

  • sewing: many young children love sewing using wool and a thick needle going in and out of a piece of old blanket or jumper. It’s the experience that’s important, not the end result.
  • string: for tying things together, e.g. several egg-boxes tied together make a train!
  • knitting is getting back into fashion and a great activity for children from the age of 6 onwards

Certain TOYS and EVERYDAY MATERIALS lend themselves to creative and constructive play

  • Lego and Duplo
  • wooden bricks
  • wooden cut offs
  • you can also build a tower from tin of food
  • some kids made a motor way by lining up everbody’s shoes and moving a small box along with a stick!

I suspect that you are already doing similar things with your child and I’d love to hear from you about your experiences and any new ideas that you have about materials and what to do with them. You can use the form on the right of this page.

A warm welcome from Sibylle Janert.

I look forward to discussing your concerns.

To receive occasional updates sign up here: