On this blog, NAPA pediatric speech pathologists list five great activities for language development that can be used for toddlers (2-3 years old), preschoolers, or any child ready to tackle some language development activities! Many children with diagnoses such as autism, cerebral palsy, TBI, and Down syndrome often experience delays or deficits in language development. Delays in language development make it more difficult for children to communicate with family members, teachers and therapists resulting in frustration, potential delays in social development, and difficulties in academic settings.
If your child has trouble learning new words, has problems stringing words together in sentences or has consistent trouble getting the message across verbally, there are things you can do to help.
Recognizing and treating language delays as early as possible will allow your child to communicate effectively and set the stage for greater independence in the future.
Here are 5 great activities for language development for preschoolers and toddlers you can start using today. These language development activities are perfect for 2-3 year olds, toddlers, or preschoolers.
Building towers and similar structures isn’t just a fun game to play; it also provides ample opportunity to work on language skills. You can introduce adjectives like “higher” and “up”, verbs such as “build” and “fall down,” as well as numbers and colors. As each block is added, take the time to explain to your child what is happening and ensure he or she uses the corresponding words to describe the action. Find more speech therapy toys we love here!
Most children enjoy playing dress up games – role play will allow your child to explore his or her imagination without any restrictions. When you introduce different characters to the game, you can also introduce new words and help build your child’s language skills. If there are specific words or concepts you’ve been instructed to teach by your child’s therapist, create characters that allow you to work them in naturally.
Since the goal is to have a child that is able to communicate with others using a wide and varied vocabulary, it makes sense to practice throughout the day in a range of situations. Point out things you see, hear, taste and smell and give your child an opportunity to respond and comprehend what you are saying. Talk about produce and products at the grocery store, what others are doing as you drive by them, different businesses and buildings and objects around your own house. Just remember to keep it simple and avoid “baby talk.”
Listening to music with your child is an effective activity to encourage language development. Music has a beat and focuses on intonation, which can help with syllable awareness and other aspects of verbal communication. For some songs, you can also use accompanying books to follow along and point to pictures, or act out the lyrics from the song, which will create links for your child between actions and words.
It’s no secret that children love being told stories – you can use books to help develop language skills from an early age. Whether the books have pictures or not, make sure to focus on language and build associations in your child’s mind to help develop his or her language. Feel free to stop and discuss what’s happening as often as necessary, and always give your child the chance to talk about the story once the book is finished.
If you can incorporate these kinds of language development activities into your child’s routine, you will be able to make progress without having it feel like a chore — for you or your child!