Tuesday, 18 September 2012

The benefits of phone play!

                                                        Hello?? Is anybody there?

Playing with phones is a inevitable part of your child's development. Everyone is using them whether they be mobiles or land line phones, and children can't get enough of it!!

Pretending to use the phone is one of the first imaginative activities your child may do. If you think how often you use the phone, or your child sees someone using a phone, you begin to realise why this could be the case! Of course, things have changed somewhat from when I was younger.... we used to pretend play phones with toy dial phones, carefully placing our fingers in the hole to turn the numbers........requiring a great deal of fine motor skills!!

Today phones are more simple........and a lot smaller!! Mobile phones work at the touch of a button and even have screens you can play games on!! That is why a child pretending to play phones these days are more likely to be pretending to slide their screens with their fingers rather than dialling numbers!!

Of course, phone play in whatever form (a banana still makes a fab pretend phone, as does a hand!!) is very educational. Children learn that phones are a way of communicating and can boost their language skills just by pretending to talk to someone!! Conversations may be limited at toddler age, with maybe just a " hello........yes.........bye!", but even pretending to talk to someone on the phone with your child can help build their language skills. There has been many a time in my career I have spent talking to children's friends and families via the pretend phone........and a lot of them I never even met!! My daughter loves for me to talk to someone with her on the phone, although it is mostly Nanna or Daddy I'm supposed to be talking to!

There are many ways to encourage phone play in the home or in childcare settings:

1. Offer the children opportunities to talk on the phone to family and friends. My daughter loves a conversation on the phone, to the point she even asks me to speak to cold callers!!

2. Offer a range of old phones and toy phones for your child to play with. I have always kept my really old mobiles for her to play with, placing them in a box with her toy phones people have bought her. She loves them!!

3. Offer the children old phone books in their home corners/ toy boxes and a pen and paper to write down messages. This also helps boost their writing and reading skills.

4. The telephone teaches children to have a conversation without the visual body clues which may express what a person is trying to say. It is a fantastic tool which you can explore by using walkie talkies too!!

5. Make the good old cup phones with string............they never go out of fashion!! http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Play-Telephone

6. Be aware that however good it may be tot each your child about using phones to ring the emergency services, many children have actually rang these numbers without the parents being aware, which could stop a real emergency call getting through!!!

You can read a study about children playing with phones at :


An interesting read!!


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