Language is the currency of social interaction and school achievement, and language thrives when children are interacting with adults and peers in a playful manner (Zosh, Reed, Golinkoff, & Hirsh-Pasek, 2014), suggesting that play can make important contributions to the learning of language. Guided play provides a particularly effective language-learning environment; guided play offers a socially rich and meaningful context for learning rather than a didactic environment that is not engaging or responsive (Weisberg, Hirsh-Pasek, Golinkoff, Kittredge, & Klahr, in press).
Some representative publications:
Zosh, J., Reed, J., Golinkoff, R. M., & Hirsh-Pasek, K. (2014). Play and its role in language development. In P. Brooks, V. Kempe, & G. J. Golson (Eds.) Encyclopedia of language development, (pp. 467-471).Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.