Language development – games to develop language

Your child probably experiments constantly with new sounds and words, including bad words... Children listen and learn, sucking in new things like a sponge. If you want to help their language development even more, read and sing a lot to your baby!

By the time they are two or three, kids usually start putting together short, two-word sentences, and can join in simple conversations. Once they turn three, they can often build sentences with up to six words. 

There are various fun ways of helping your child with language difficulties and teaching them to talk while you're playing or hanging out together. Here are a few suggestions:

A day in your life
At bedtime, tell your child a story about everything that happened or what you did together during the day. This activity develops the child's ability to put things in the right order, to recount things and to remember events.
Who, what and how?
Take turns asking each other questions. Try to ask open questions that require more than a yes or no answer, and listen to the answers. This is also a golden opportunity to listen to the way your child thinks.

What doesn't fit?
There are lots of ways of playing this game. If you are focusing on rhyme, for example, you can give your child three or four words, one of which doesn't rhyme with the others – like cat, hat and dog. Ask the child which word doesn't go with or sounds different to the others.
You can also play this game with synonyms like glad, happy and then the word angry – which word doesn't belong? This is a good way of developing vocabulary and explaining new words or words that your child hasn't heard much.

Sing and play together
Many children are happy to test the differences between shrieking and whispering, talking fast and talking slowly. Singing, rhymes and jingles are good for this and can be a lot of fun. 

Tell a story together
Start telling a story and ask your child what happens next. Then go along with your child's imagination. For example, you could ask, “Where did they go next? Oh, to school? Then the teacher came in with something in her hand – what was it?” And so on. This can be lots of fun for both you and your child.

Read to your child
Read a book and chat about it afterwards, imagining what else might happen. Lots of kids are keen to ask and talk about things they see and hear. This can be a lovely time, and an opportunity to listen to your child's thoughts.

More articles on playing and friendship
Safe toys
Indoor games ideas
The route to friendship
Games for babies and toddlers
Fun and games together
Winter fun and games for the whole family.


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