When kids first start learning language, they begin by labeling objects - cow, truck, plane - and making requests - more, milk, book, etc.  Remember the age-old rule:  1 word by age 1, 2-word phrases by age 2.  At what age should they begin to be able to tell you the FUNCTION/USE of an object?  This skills usually begins to emerge around 36 months.  They may first begin by telling you related information about the object.  If so, then reaffirm their answer, but also tell them the function and have them repeat it.  The following conversation may occur:
  • Mom:  What's this?  
  • Child:  Spoon?
  • Mom:  What do we do with a spoon?
  • Child:  Cereal
  • Mom:  You are right.  We use a spoon when we are EATING cereal.  Can you say we use a spoon to EAT?
  • Child:  We use a spoon to eat.

You could also start to expand your child's understanding by naming other things that you use a spoon to eat:  ice cream, soup, pudding, yogurt, etc.

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