The art and act of communicating is the ability and desire to connect with others by exchanging ideas and feelings, by verbal and non-verbal action. From infancy, your child intuitively begins to communicate with the world around it. Communication goes on through several channels. These channels include sounds (crying, cooing, squealing), facial expressions (eye contact, smiling, grimacing) and gestures/body movements (moving legs in excitement or distress, and later, gestures like pointing.) Children will continue to use one, more or all of these means until they can verbally construct and convey their thoughts.

Is your ward having a difficult time communicating with peers? Or is the situation one in which your toddler battles with recognizing facial gestures? Or do you notice that your child’s grades show less satisfactory performances in communication? You can take solace in the fact that you can strengthen communication skills through play. Games provide a veritable means for children expressing themselves, without the pressures of formality. Within an atmosphere where mistakes are made and steps retraced, kids can readily sharpen their skills in communication.

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The following are communication games and activities that can hone the skills of your child:

Presentation

Presentations are great tools for strengthening the communication skills of your child. You could start the fun business by taking the first shot. Make your rendition fun, simple and engaging. Now you could encourage your child to also talk about any topic he or she feels comfortable. Remember the goal is not to point out errors. Instead, you would want your child to string words together and develop the confidence to stand before a crowd.

Tell events from a picture

This activity is another way to allow your children to put words around the things he or she sees. Again, it is advisable adults take the lead in the activity. A picture book will work best in this regard. Parents can give their interpretation of the pictures they see and read aloud to their kids. Then children should take the next cue. Encourage them to describe the colors, the people, the scenery and every detail seen.

For older children, ask what according to them might have happened before the scene and what they think will happen later. The key is minimizing corrections and helping them ideate logically.

Conclude/Finish a story

This activity is another excellent means of honing communication skills in your child. The typical routine will involve a parent telling a story aloud. The adult stops at a certain point and allows the child to bring the account to a close. The overall objective is letting the child incorporate elements such as plot, people, colors, suspense, and whatnot into the tale. Again, experts advise keeping interruptions/corrections to the barest minimum. For younger children, narrate a nursery rhyme and let them make up an alternate ending.

The Telephone ring

The telephone is an ideal means of communication training. The standard mode is letting an adult stand in the middle of the circle of kids and whisper a message to the nearest child. That child is to whisper that same message to the next person. The word has to pass from one child to another until the last child whispers it back into the adult’s ear. The fun reveals itself through the message that you told the first child and the one you heard from the last child. The chances are high that both messages may be different.

Emotional Charades

This exciting communication activity strengthens the ability to recognize facial language. Make cards and write different emotions on them – happy, sad, angry, bored, scared, unhappy, and nervous among others. Gather your kids/wards in a circle. Start with a child picking a card and expressing the emotion on the card without saying a word. The young audience must deduce what feeling the child conveys. It is a perfect exercise for kids with difficulties reading facial expressions.

Communication games are an excellent means to teach children how to express thought/speech concisely. The games also help you develop close ties with your child.