Baby blocksA new study at Northern Arizona University will explore the notion that playtime can be more than just fun and games. Certain types of play may actually lead to better language development.

Prior studies have shown better language development among babies whose parents regularly talk to and read to them and who are responsive to their attempts to communicate. Toy manufacturers also see the value in marketing “educational” toys that can teach language concepts and enhance language development.

However, little is known about which specific types of play produce the highest quality language environment. But Anna Sosa is determined to find out.

Thanks to a $5,000 grant from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation, Sosa, an assistant professor in NAU’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, will explore the “everyday factors that promote high-quality communicative interactions” between parents and young children during play.

She hopes the results will allow professionals who work with young children with language delays to recommend the types of play that will enhance language development.

Sosa is seeking participants for the study. Parents with babies between 10 and 16 months can email Anna.Sosa@nau.edu or call (928) 523-3845.