[Mother and daughter are playing with a doll’s house.]
Mother: That looks like the mummy horsey and the baby horsey there. This one’s big, and another little one, isn’t it?
Daughter: This is a little one.
Mother: That’s a little ... sheep, is it?
Narrator: Pretend play, such as playing with a doll’s house or Lego, helps your preschooler to learn how to share. It also develops your child’s thinking and problem-solving skills.
Mother: What’s this one?
Daughter: A little boy.
Mother: A little boy, yes. Two little boys.
Daughter: And here’s a little horsey and a big horsey.
Mother: Yeah, you’ve got little and big.
Narrator: Playing together shows your child that you care for her and at the same time it’s a learning opportunity.
[Another mother and daughter sit at a table, looking at the girl’s drawing. The girl is talking about the story in the picture.]
Narrator: You can help your preschooler develop communication skills by letting her tell the story in her own words.
Daughter: Mr Brown went outside to the apple trees. When he got there, there was a whole tree full of them.
Mother: There was a whole tree full of them?
Daughter: Yeah. [Pointing] See?
Mother: Oh yeah. They’re your apples, aren’t they? They’re really pretty.
Daughter: And that tree I did dark and light.
Mother: Oh yeah, dark and light leaves.
Daughter [pointing]: And the mouse.
Mother: And a mouse. Was there a mouse in the story with Mr Brown?
Daughter: Yeah. And then he went up the tree and chop, chop, chop, and one fell down.
Mother: The mouse did? Was he trying to pinch Mr Brown’s apples?
Narrator: It’s important to listen, repeat what your child has said and add in a few words if she gets stuck.
Mother: Oh, Mr Brown pinched one for himself too? Or the mouse pinched one?
Daughter: Umm, [points] him.
Mother [pointing]: That’s Mr Brown, that’s the mouse.
Narrator: Ask ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘where’ and ‘why’ questions. This will encourage your preschooler to use more words.