Play is more than fun – it’s a language all its own.

Have you ever sat and watched children communicate? They seem to have their own language as they play together.

From non-verbal to verbal communication, kids tend to talk to each other differently than adults do. They interact through games and fun activities. It’s also where they learn valuable social skills.

The next time your child is having a play date, watch the unique way they talk to each other and you’ll see just how effective play is at building communication skills.

Acting Out Experiences

Unless adults are playing charades, you probably won’t see them acting out what they’ve recently experienced or learned. Children love to play pretend games that give them an outlet for better understanding their own experiences. As a result, their actions teach and communicate to other children. While they may only say a few words, they all know exactly what the other children mean.

Communicating Conflicts

Wouldn’t it be nice to bounce back from arguments as quickly as children? Kids may fight from time to time, but overall, they use play as a way to communicate with each other and work through disagreements. They may trade off toys or opt for a different game that makes another child happier. This process is helping children communicate social and emotional signals. It also encourages sharing and empathy.

Talk About Fears

The younger a child is, the less experience they have with the world. This means something as simple as taking that first family trip could be terrifying to a child. While they may not be able to fully communicate this fear to their parents, they are able to play it out with another child. Even as parents, you may notice a child playing out a fearful experience with dolls, cars or other toys. Right now, they might not have the words to fully express their fears or concerns, but through play, they can. Other children understand and play along with them to help ease various fears.

Play is a learning experience for children, but it’s also a unique way for them to communicate. Pay close attention and you may learn even more about your child this way.

Image: Abigail Keenan