These local items can teach your child a new language through play

by Pamela Madonsela
Baby Yum Yum - these local items can teach your child a new language through play
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Learning through play is an important aspect of the development of a child and parents will agree that teaching these little people is not a child’s play at all. It does not only require one to be patient, but parents need to be creative, and willing to join in and play as well.

Introducing a new language to a child can be tricky but fortunate enough there are tools and educational toys to help ease the process. It is also important for parents to encourage the child to speak their home language in addition to other languages. 

Educational Psychologist Sanelisiwe Cele says play is very important in the holistic development of a child. “It contributes to their social, emotional, physical, cognitive, and moral development.” Cele adds that “the skills learned through play are important for success in several domains, not only in childhood but throughout a person’s lifespan. Play can help develop skills such as communication, motor (fine and gross), and problem-solving.”

She says it is important that parents buy safe and age-appropriate toys for their children. It is also important to note that items around the house may also be used as toys. “For infants, these can be plastic bowls, lids, and plastic bottles. Infants at this stage learn through senses like touch. 

Therefore, during this time, they use toys like rattles, stuffy animals, and squeeze toys. For preschoolers, parents may buy toys that will help with the development of the above-mentioned domains. Balls and skipping ropes for instance help improve fine and gross motor skills. Puzzles and building blocks enhance problem-solving skills. 

Toys for pretend play like kitchen sets, transportation toys, construction toys, toddler-sized furniture, and dolls can expand a child’s imaginative and self-expression horizon. We cannot ignore that we live in the 21st century and most children are fascinated by digital toys. For these reasons, parents may buy tablets and phones with educational games such as sing-along rhymes, counting challenges, and puzzles.” 

Here are some cool products you can check out to help your child learn a new language. 

Learn through play- spelling numbers and words

These are flashcards that allow children to learn how to distinguish colours, and shapes, promote baby’s cognition and develop hand, eye, and brain abilities. It is a fun and interactive way to teach your child the basics of the English language. Learn Through Play specialises in wooden toys and educational materials that spark learning and imagination.

Ziyana Books- Things in the House – Isizulu Pictionary

Ziyana Books are a fun and colourful way to teach children their home languages. Sinenhlanhla Mkhize decided to self-publish this Isizulu Pictionary to help her daughter Ziyana learn the language. “I believe the best way to teach children their home language is to predominantly speak it at home and then aid their learning with exciting visual material. A vernacular Pictionary book like this will support parents’ efforts to teach their kids vernacular,” Sinenhlanhla says. 

You might also like: Why you should read to your baby

God Loves You – Thabiso Sikwane

Modimo o a go rata/ God Loves You is a children’s book about God’s love which is available in Setswana and English by veteran radio personality, Thabiso Sikwane. This is another great way parents can use to introduce a new language. It can also help them understand both English and Setswana. 

Ambani AR Learning Cards

The brilliance of language learning fun in augmented reality is now available in these flashcards. These can be downloaded and are available in 10 different languages. Ambani Africa offers a uniquely African app with educational games tailored to teach African children their indigenous languages. 

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