Using plastic cups to talk and play

November 17, 2015

Who knew that plastic cups could be so useful in creating conversations with your child?

If you weren’t lucky enough to be given a set of stacking cups for your baby amongst all the singlets and socks; any plastic drinking cups, or a set of plastic disposable cups from the picnic section of the supermarket will also be just as good.

To start: hand over three or four cups to your child and just describe your child’s actions, even if it’s just banging them together! Just make sure you pause to allow your child to respond or add to the conversation in their own way.

Then, here are a few ideas to mix it up and get talking:

1. Stack the cups “up” and knock them “down”.

Use lots of building and crashing words!

2. Talk about putting things “in” and “out” of the cups as you fit them inside each other.

If you have different sizes, describe them: “big”, “bigger”, “biggest”; “small”, “smaller”, “smallest”.

Mother and son playing with toys

3. While you and your child are playing together, emphasise words that describe what’s happening.

Try “on”, “under”, “next to”, “in front”, “behind”, “top”, “bottom”, “on”, “off” and “between.”

4. Children love hide and seek games – add other toys and household items to put on, and in the cups.

Hide the cups “under the pillow” or “behind the lounge”. Hide a smaller toy under one and have your child find the toy: “Surprise! There it is”, “You found it!”

5. If you have coloured cups you can mention colours and position words.

“I’m going to put this red cup under the table” or just count them.

6. At the beach, in the sandpit or in the bath, add sand or water.

Talk about whether the cup are “full” or “empty” or you can “tip, tip, tip” the cup until the contents are “all gone.” Bath time is a great time to talk, away from the television and other distractions.

7. Problem solve and experiment – “Which cup fits in here?” “What cup goes on top?”

Remember: Your child learns more if they can see your face while you are talking and playing together, because they can see how you form your words when you speak.

So enjoy stacking your cups together!

For more ideas around talking and playing contact your local public library.