Aim of the game:

Children learn best when activities are interesting and familiar. In this activity we show you how you can help your child to build sentences using familiar words to talk about family and friends. This activity also helps your child to recall events supporting narrative skills and strengthening memories.

 

 What you will need:

  Some photos of family members or close friends at events or doing activities. These can be presented on a mobile phone, table, computer or as hard copies in a photo album or printed off onto paper.

 

 How to play:

  • Introduce the game to your child telling them you’re going to look at some photos together.
  • Talk about what your child can see. The best way to do this to in order to support your child’s language skills is to comment and use pauses for your child to respond, rather than to directly question them.

For example, instead of asking “who’s that?” and “what are they doing?” you could try leading comments and just waiting to see what your child says or does, such as “ah look….” or “ah this is a lovely picture….” and “I remember this….” If there are lots of people in the picture you could try just picking out one person and saying “I can see granny…” then pause to see if your child follows suit and comments on who they can see.

 Often in these types of activities where there is a lot to process visually, giving your child lots of time and space to think, process and respond to your comments is really helpful. We often suggest waiting for your child to initiate the talking, you can sometimes cue this is with expectant looks or noises such as “wow” or “ahh” and “look!”

  • Once the conversation is going you can discuss what’s happening, who is in the picture, when it took place, where you were etc.

 Tip! The “I wonder….” statement can often be useful for helping children who aren’t that forthcoming with language. You could try “I wonder who that is…..” or “I wonder what they were doing….”. This way you are just voicing a thought rather than asking a direct question and you’re more likely to get a richer response from your child.

 

 How to extend:

  • If your child is reluctant to talk that’s ok, this is new stuff for them. Help them by giving them lots of time first to process the picture then if they are still quiet you could try making a simple comment or two to pick out some information to prompt them. For example, “look, that’s daddy!” You can use leading sentences (e.g. “look daddy is….[laughing]”) or choice questions (e.g. “is daddy laughing or crying?”) to help them out.
  • If your child is really good at this game then offer less scaffolding or support. Simply ask “tell me about this picture” and see what they come up with.
  • You could extend this and ask them questions such as “do you remember what happened next?” or “what else did we do that day?”
  • You could reenact your photos in a little role play or story sequence using toy characters or pretending to be characters in the photos yourselves.

 

 

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