ACTIVITIES THAT FOCUS ON SPEECH AND LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT
Brain Building In Progress: Talking and Listening (birth-33months)
Expressive Language ideas
Birth to 2 Years
Expressive Language ideas
- Reading books is a great way to work on vocabulary, answering questions, grammar, and story retelling/sequencing. Ask open-ended “wh” questions (who, what, where, when, why) that require your child to think of a more detailed explanation rather than just providing a yes/no response. Ask your child to recall 2-3 important details from the story, using sentence starters such as, “first….then...next...last…” to help them sequence steps from the story.
- Playing board games such as Headbanz, Guess Who, Clue Junior, Charades and Bingo will target skills such as producing and using appropriate vocabulary, asking/answering open-ended questions, identifying semantic associations/similarities, categories etc.
- Have your child draw a picture of something and let them tell you about what they drew.
- Set a timer and play a rhyming game with your child. See how many rhyming words you can think of before the timer goes off.
- Give your child “chores” or tasks to do around the house that require them to follow 1-2 step directions (e.g. after you put your shoes in the closet, put your jacket on the chair)
- When reading books with your child, ask them to identify by pointing to pictures in the book (e.g. show me where the cat is...show me which baby is eating, etc).
- Play board/card games (e.g. ThinkFun Roll and Play dice game, charades, Yoga Pretzels, Uno, Go Fish) that require your child to follow directions, identify familiar vocabulary, work on turn-taking skills, showing good sportsmanship, and using social language skills.
- Play “Guess that Emotion” using different facial expressions with your child and have them identify which emotion you are displaying. Talk about real-life situations or instances that cause you to experience each emotion. (e.g. when you pick up your toys and put them away, that makes me feel HAPPY).
- Have your child draw a picture and give them directions to follow that target language attributes such as location, quantity, size, shape, color, etc (e.g. give the snowman THREE BLUE buttons, draw a RED flower UNDER the tree)
Birth to 2 Years
- Say sound like "ma," "da," and "ba." Try to get your baby to say them back to you.
- Look at your baby when he makes sounds. Talk back to him, and say what he says. Pretend to have a conversation.
- Respond when your baby laughs or makes faces. Make the same faces back to her.
- Teach your baby to do what you do, like clapping your hands and playing peek-a-boo.
- Talk to your baby as you give him a bath, feed him, and get him dressed. Talk about what you are doing and where you are going. Tell him who or what you will see.
- Point out colors and shapes.
- Count what you see.
- Use gestures, like waving and pointing.
- Talk about animal sounds. This helps your baby connect the sound and the animal. Use words like "The dog says woof-woof."
- Add on to what your baby says. When your baby says, "Mama," say, "Here is Mama. Mama loves you. Where is baby? Here is baby."
- Read to your child. You don't have to read every word, but talk about the pictures. Choose books that are sturdy and have large colorful pictures. Ask your child, "What's this?" and try to get him to point to or name objects.
- Speak clearly to your child. Model good speech.
- Repeat what your child says to show that you understand. Add on to what she says. Use words like, "Want juice? I have juice. I have apple juice. Do you want apple juice?"
- It's okay to use baby talk sometimes. Be sure to use the adult word too.
- For example, "It is time for din-din. We will have dinner now."
- Cut out pictures of favorite or familiar things. Put them into categories, like things to ride on, things to eat, and things to play with. Make silly pictures by mixing and matching pictures. Glue a picture of a dog behind the wheel of a car. Talk about what is wrong with the picture and ways to "fix" it.
- Help your child understand and ask questions. Play the yes–no game. Ask questions such as, "Are you Marty?" and "Can a pig fly?" Have your child make up questions and try to fool you.
- Ask questions that include a choice. "Do you want an apple or an orange?" "Do you want to wear your red shirt or your blue shirt?"
- Help your child learn new words. Name body parts, and talk about what you do with them. "This is my nose. I can smell flowers, brownies, and soap."
- Sing simple songs, and say nursery rhymes. This helps your child learn the rhythm of speech.
- Place familiar objects in a box. Have your child take one out and tell you its name and how to use it. "This is my ball. I bounce it. I play with it."
- Show pictures of familiar people and places. Talk about who they are and what happened. Try making up new stories.
- Pay attention when your child talks to you.
- Get your child's attention before you talk.
- Praise your child when she tells you something. Show that you understand her words.
- Pause after speaking. This gives your child a chance to respond.
- Keep helping your child learn new words. Say a new word, and tell himwhat it means, or use it in a way that helps him understand. For example, you can use the word "vehicle" instead of "car." You can say, "I think I will drive the vehicle to the store. I am too tired to walk."
- Talk about where things are, using words like "first," "middle," and "last" or "right" and "left." Talk about opposites like "up" and "down" or "on" and "off."
- Have your child guess what you describe. Say, "We use it to sweep the floor," and have her find the broom. Say, "It is cold, sweet, and good for dessert. I like strawberry" so she can guess "ice cream."
- Work on groups of items, or categories. Find the thing that does not belong in a group. For example, "A shoe does not go with an apple and an orange because you can't eat it. It is not round. It is not a fruit."
- Help your child follow two- and three-step directions. Use words like, "Go to your room, and bring me your book."
- Ask your child to give directions. Follow his directions as he tells you how to build a tower of blocks.
- Play games with your child such as "house." Let her be the parent, and you pretend to be the child. Talk about the different rooms and furniture in the house.
- Watch movies together on TV or a tablet. Talk about what your child is watching. Have her guess what might happen next. Talk about the characters. Are they happy or sad? Ask her to tell you what happened in the story. Act out a scene together, or make up a different ending.
- Use everyday tasks to learn language. For example, talk about the foods on the menu and their color, texture, and taste when in the kitchen. Talk about where to put things. Ask her to put the napkin on the table, in your lap, or under the spoon. Talk about who the napkin belongs to. Say, "It is my napkin." "It is Daddy's." "It is Tamara's."
- Go grocery shopping together. Talk about what you will buy, how many things you need, and what you will make. Talk about sizes, shapes, and weight.
- Talk with your child a lot.
- Read different types of books. Read every day, and talk with your child about the story.
- Help your child learn sound patterns of words. You can play rhyming games and point out letters as you read.
- Have your child retell stories and talk about his day.
- Talk with your child about what you do during the day. Give her directions to follow.
- Talk about how things are the same and different.
- Give your child chances to write.
Early Childhood Partners programs are funded by the Coordinated Family & Community Engagement (CFCE) grant awarded to Hamilton-Wenham Regional School District by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care. The HWRSD does not discriminate in its programs, activities or employment practices on the basis of race*, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, genetic information, active military/veteran status, marital status, familial status, pregnancy, or pregnancy-related condition, homelessness, ancestry, ethnic background, national origin, or any other category protected by state or federal law.