I had mentioned before that I was fascinated by the fact that my son was engaging in interactive play with his friends. What is really important to realize here is that he is using his PRETEND play abilities he learned at a younger age.
Let me mention again how important pretend play is. When a parent plays with their child and uses their imagination, they are using rich language that helps that child learn to talk soon and have a wider vocabulary. Having a pretend tea party for instance allows you to introduce words such as: saucer, teapot, "scolding hot, teaspoon, mug." When you play tea party with your child you can add these words in and allow them to talk about who is coming to the party or which animals want cream and sugar in their tea. Parents will enrich their children with more language as well as have fun and build a close bond with them.
Try pretending to take a train to the zoo and fill up the couch with animals.
Have a tea party and invite all their favourite toys to join you.
Play store and buy and sell lots of items to talk about.
Talk to grandma on the play phone and discuss weather, the daily activies or adventures
Take a spaceship ride on the comfy chair and visit planets with strange creature.
Imagination is only as limited as you allow it... and follow your child's lead when they change the story. This will engage them longer and you may be surprised how much they know or want to talk about.
The age they begin to use pretend play is about 15-18 months, but I have experienced this sooner with my little signer, Geran. Geran would sign fly, moon, light and be 'signing away' tell me his stories. I would take his lead and talk about it. For example, "oh, you see a fly on the light? Are his feet hot? Did he find something good to eat? Does he think the light is a moon?" I liked to stir Geran's imagination and see what he would do next.
Know that when you engage in pretend play, you are boosting their IQ and building a strong language base.
For more information on how baby sign language and pretend play are important language building exercises go to www.stickyhands.ca