Communication is a crucial aspect of cognitive development in children. Language development is essential for success in school and to enable learning. If your child can speak and understand well, his learning and reading will also improve.
If you find that your toddler has trouble with his language or hasn’t started to efficiently speak even after a certain age, you can engage him in a few fun activities that will help him develop his language skills.
10 Activities for Language Development in Toddlers
Here are some communication and language activities for toddlers that can help him learn and model his speaking and language skills.
1. Play the Telephone Game
You can get a pair of toy telephone for your little one and make it an active part of his play time. Pretend like you are ringing him on his phone and encourage him to pick up the phone and answer. Teach him how to say ‘Hello’ once he receives your call. This activity can help your child develop phone etiquettes and improve his speaking skills.
2. Sing with Him
Singing lyrics of rhymes and songs can help your toddler have fun and improve his language. You may also introduce new words and teach him his nouns and verbs using a song.
3. Name the Thing
Point out at various things in your house and ask your toddler to name them. You can help him with the names in the beginning until he begins to say them on his own. This is an easy way to build and improve his vocabulary. This game can be played anywhere, including your house, in the park or even in the supermarket.
4. Speak in Complete Sentences
Ask your toddlers simple questions and encourage him to speak in complete sentences. This will give him a good idea of how sentence construction works and help him strong, coherent sentences. It can also act as a sound foundation for his future articulation and confidence. Ask simple things like, “Do you want an orange?” and teach him to respond in full sentence.
5. Read Him Books
Reading to your toddler every night is a great way to introduce him to the world of words. Read him a simple book with pictures and ask him questions related to the story. You can also try pointing at images in the book and ask him to identify them. This can help him improve his vocabulary and teach him to provide accurate responses to the question asked.
6. Join Dots
Draw a dotted outline of different letters of the alphabet. Now ask your toddler to join these dots and identify the letter when he’s finished. This will also enhance his motor skills and teach him to write better. You can also give him crayons or colour pencils to make the activity exciting for him.
7. Give Him Toys and Puppets
Give your toddler toys or puppets and encourage him to have conversations with the toy. Create an imaginative game and allow your child to expand his imagination. Kids are very creative, once you show them the way, they will take over. You can also use puppets to have simple conversations with your child. You can even put on a puppet show to make play-time all the more enjoyable.
8. Match Alphabet
Draw the letters of the alphabet on cardboard and hand it to your child. You can then give him certain pictures of things and ask him to identify them. Then ask him to match the picture with the letter the name of the thing begins with. This will help him match letters using phonetics and help him with spelling later on.
9. Set an Obstacle Course
If your toddler is over two years, you can create a simple obstacle course around the house. Give him simple instructions on what he needs to do. Give him one instruction at a time, in the beginning, to avoid getting him confused. Give him some time to complete this activity. You can also write out instructions on a paper and place them around the house by the instructions. For example: If you want to ask him to sit in a box, place a box and stick a paper on the box saying ‘Sit inside the box’. You can then give him the instruction and wait for him to follow through.
Once he’s in tune with the activity, you can try giving him more than one instruction at a time and challenge him to complete it as soon as possible.
10. Have Intelligent Conversations with Him
Even though your child may not be able to immediately respond to them, they will be listening keenly. Gradually, ask him for his opinions, thoughts, likes, and dislikes. Listen to him when he responds, and repeat what he said using coherent, grammatically right sentences. This can help him express himself later in life and also improve his articulation.
Your child will eventually mimic you and learn from you. So it is important that you practice good grammar and speak as clearly as possible to help him pick up on words. Introduce new words to him on a regular basis and explain what they mean. Language development can help your toddler prepare for a successful future as he will be able to communicate better and express himself in a clear manner.
In case you notice delayed speech and lack of language skills after the age of three even with these activities you can consult your doctor to check for any underlying causes of hearing impairment or any other disabilities.