Play alongside of the child with several small cars and trucks and different boxes that are large enough to hold the vehicles. Have flashlights with easy-to-push on/off buttons.
Drive the cars around the floor area, making car noises. Turn a flashlight on and off and say “stop” and “go” to the cars as they come by. Then give the child the flashlight and let her direct the cars. Then say, “My turn,” and take the light back. The child may say “My turn” to get the flashlight back.
The child uses words with intent to convey meaning, not just to label. During the car play, the child will use words to comment on other’s objects or actions, direct others what to do (Mommy stop, go), claim possession (my car, my light, my turn), request more of something or comment on what happened (all gone). These words are used as if in a whole sentence of meaning.
The child’s vocabulary is expanding. Early childhood educators and parents need to engage the child in conversation, even though the child is using one or two word phrases. When reading to the child, involve the child by asking questions, “What’s this?” “What’s he doing?” Expand the child’s vocabulary by adding new words. For example, the child says, “All gone.” The adult can say. “Yes. It is all gone. You are finished.” Adults can also narrate what they are doing to illustrate new vocabulary. “I am driving the car. You are riding in the car.” Such narration demonstrates the meaning of words.
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015
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