The Importance of Play with @zaziplays

Zazi Henderson is a speech and language therapist, passionate about communication and play! She shares the amazing adventures in play of her son August on her Instagram account @zaziplays. She also has a Youtube channel dedicated to teaching your child to communicate. We had a bit of a chat with Zazi about why she started blogging about play and communication.

Tell us a little about you and your background

I'm a trained Speech and Language Therapist and I've been practising for 7 years, showing parents and teachers how they can play a little differently to help their children communicate.

Now I have a baby of my own a have a WHOLE NEW PERSPECTIVE of what a mama can fit into her life on top of all the other things we have to do! I absolutely adore being a Mam (how we say Mum where I'm from!) to my son, August, and I'm enjoying entwining my expertise with 'winging it' as a patent and sharing that with whoever wants to come along for the ride!

What made you decide to start your blog?

Part of my job (when I wasn't on maternity leave) used to be to run workshops. We'd invite parents and teachers and we'd show them some strategies that they could use with their children if they were concerned about their speech or language development.

What we know is, the earlier children are supported with their communication, the better communicators they're likely to be. I got SO MUCH parenting advice from Instagram and I still do - so I thought hey - maybe I could offer what I know up to other mums so that they can start supporting their child's communication really early - hopefully preventing problems in the future.

Blogging like this also keeps my brain busy! It means I don't forget my training!

Why is play so important to children's development?

Play is amazing for many reasons but the part that I like to highlight is how much more language learning can occur when a responsive parent joins in with their child's play. When it comes to learning to talk, nothing compares to a parent or caregiver taking the time to follow the child's interests, feed in language, show interest and take turns.

Research shows that the words a child uses (their vocabulary) is related to later school success - so talking together is so important!

What are some ways mums can get involved with play?

Well hopefully my blog is doing all the hard work so mums don't have to. We have enough on our plates without worrying about coming up with fun stuff to do! Come and check out what August and I have been up to and see if any of my posts are something your little one might enjoy.

Nearly all activities can be modified for each baby's age and stage and I'm always happy to help if you want to reach out. Each post has ideas for how you can feed in lots of rich language for your baby whilst you're playing together - this way their vocabulary will be increasing just through having fun


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