Learning About ‘People Play’

Before children begin to communicate, they need to be motivated to verbalise and share language. Some of the best ways we can do this is through the promotion of preverbal skills, or skills required before a child will attempt to talk. Preverbal skills are part of communication and cognitive development and include; joint attention, imitation, turn-taking, waiting, pointing etc. All of these skills generally start to develop at about 7 months.

Making the connection with your child can sometimes be best done without toys and a great way to enhance preverbal skills are through people games! As the name suggests, people games use ‘people’ to make learning and play FUN. Clapping games, peek-a-boo, hide and seek, dancing and singing and chasey are all examples of fun and engaging people games.

In fact people games are the most fun when approached spontaneously during everyday activities together like sorting the washing (perfect for peek-a-boo!)


These types of games allow children independence and control over their play, as they are structured and predictable and help facilitate routine-driven learning. They are repetitive thus supporting language and vocabulary development. They are fun and exciting which promotes connection and interest.

People games help teach children about:

  • Starting and ending a game (how games ‘work’)
  • Taking turns in games and talking!
  • Imitating
  • Joint attention (where objects are involved)
  • Looking and waiting (anticipation)
  • Requesting


What type of people games will you attempt with your child this week?

Have FUN!  This is how children learn best.