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12 Engaging Language Activities for Toddlers

Encouraging your toddler to participate in language activities at home provides so many amazing benefits.

As communication is the basic foundation of all relationships, it is necessary to help your child become confident with their language skills.

Even though communication comes naturally, creating a rich learning environment where kids can listen, interact, and communicate freely is extremely beneficial for their development.

Importance of Language Development for Toddlers

You may be thinking, since communication comes naturally, why is it important to help your child develop these skills?

Having good language skills allows children to form and maintain healthy relationships with parents, peers, and even teachers.

A major part of the school readiness skills children need to learn before entering kindergarten is the ability to communicate verbally to express their needs, wants, and thoughts. Unfortunately, many children are entering school underprepared and this has many children to feeling frustrated and left behind.

In order to decrease frustration and best prepare your child for academic and social success, try implementing some of these easy language activities for toddlers into your everyday routine!

Arts for language development

3 Tips to Help Develop Your Child’s Communication and Language Skills

Here are some helpful tips to help develop your child’s communication skills

  1. Avoid closed-ended questions like “What color is this truck?” or “Which animals is this?”.
    • Children may feel like they are being quizzed and if they do not know the answer they may stop trying to talk altogether.
  2. Ask open-ended questions like “What do you think will happen if I push on this tower?” or “What do you think will happen next in the story?”.
    • These questions encourage children to use their critical thinking skills to come up with an answer on their own without trying to recall a specific name or object.
  3. Wait at least 5 seconds for a reply from your toddler after you have asked a question.
    • Children need time to process what was being asked and think of a reply. If we react too quickly without waiting, we don’t give our toddlers a chance to speak.

12 Fun and Interactive Language Activities for Toddlers

Here are 12 simple language activities to help your toddler develop their language and communication skills.

1. Pretend Play

This is one of the best activities for communication since children learn best through play!

As kids engage in make-believe, they tend to talk out loud about what they are doing, seeing, and experiencing. This is a great time for parents to interact and talk with their children in a fun environment to really improve their communication skills.

When children pretend they are a doctor or a teacher, they express their views of how the world works and place themselves into many different social scenarios. This is one of my favorite language activities for toddlers.

Pretend play for language development

2. Simon Says

The game Simon Says is an amazing tool to help build a child’s vocabulary and listening skills.

Once a command is given, the children then have to process the information, interpret what was said, and react appropriately.

This is a super easy no-preparation game that can easily be implemented during playtime!

3. Scavenger Hunt

All kids love a good scavenger hunt! Not only is it fun and engaging, but it is a great way to help children learn the name of different objects.

Play along with your child and help them describe each item on the list. Talk about the color, the shape, and what it is used for! You will start to see an improvement in their vocabulary and narrative abilities, which are both very important pre-reading skills!

4. Construction Play

Building blocks or other construction toys provide a great opportunity for parents to communicate with their children and improve their language skills.

Try asking open-ended questions like ”Why are you building a house?”, ”Who will live in the house?”, or ”What will happen if I push on the house?”. These types of questions will help engage your toddler in conversation and help to develop important critical thinking skills.

5. Sensory Bins

Descriptive words like slimy, sticky, lumpy, soft, and hard are best learned during sensory play.

As children interact with different materials, they are to make connections and learn how to express what they are feeling and experiencing.

There are many different types of sensory bins! You can expose your child to many rich learning experiences by simply changing the material and props inside the bin.

6. Reading

Reading to your child is very important for many areas of their development. Even if it is just for a few minutes every single day!

A study done by The Ohio State University found that children who are read one book every day from 0-5 years of age were exposed to nearly 300,000 more words than children who were not read to before entering kindergarten.

This is an amazing opportunity to help your child develop their vocabulary, letter knowledge, and reading skills!

7. Cooking

Cooking with your child provides them with many opportunities to engage in conversation and learn about real-life practical things.

You can read the recipes together and talk about all the different ingredients and their measurements.

As you count and measure all the ingredients, you are also helping your child to develop important early math skills!

Language activities for toddlers

8. Arts and Crafts

There are so many amazing benefits to arts and crafts! When children work on a project, they learn and talk about all the different colors, shapes, materials, and tools they are using.

This activity is also a very easy way to get even those very shy children to start talking. Simply ask questions like, ”Why did you use this color” or ”What are you painting?”.

Children are always eager to show off their creations!

9. Simple Board Games

It may seem like an impossible task to get your toddler to sit for a board game, but there are some really great educational board games out there.

Many of these board games are targeted to help improve your child’s vocabulary, language, and social skills.

Here are 3 of our favorites games:

10. Musical Play

Singing songs, dancing, and listening to music are all great ways to improve your child’s language development!

Songs tend to use repetitive vocabulary and variations in tones which help children learn about vocabulary and syllable awareness.

By acting out lyrics to different songs like, If You’re Happy and You Know It (Clap Your Hands), children are able to make the connections between actions, emotions, and words.

language activities for toddlers

11. Puppets

Playing with puppets is a fun activity that helps to improve your child’s communication and social skills.

Through this type of play, children will learn how to ask questions, answer questions, and remain engaged and focused on the conversation.

Even though the child is simply playing with puppets, the skills they are learning translate really well to real-life social settings.

12. Color Bins

This activity is a super simple way to help develop your child’s vocabulary while also working on color recognition.

All you need are a couple bins labeled different colors. Then have your child go around the house and collect toys or object to place in each colored bin.

As you talk about and describe the different items, your child is making connections that will help improve their language and communication skills.


Children are like sponges and they absorb information at an incredible rate.

Help your child get ahead and be more prepared for the academic and social world by trying out some of these simple language activities for toddlers!

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