The development of speech in toddlers is instinctive, meaning they tend to occur naturally. This is the reason why most people will tell you not to be concerned. However, as parents, it’s hard to just sit idly by. So, we’ve put together a list of fun activities you could try out with your toddler to encourage his or her speech development.
Reading is one of the best things you can do to encourage your toddler’s speech development. Why? When you read to toddlers, they end up listening to you intently, and as they do, they are prone to imitate your speech. This, indirectly, helps them develop their own speech.
For Reading Hour, choose books with a lot of pictures and bright colours, like pop-up books and simple board books, preferably those with diverse themes (more vocabulary).
Sticker and picture books make good reading books too. The absence of words in these types of books allows for more imagination. It also prompts conversations about the possible actions, emotions, and intentions of the characters in the book. This will help your toddler’s speech development as well as his or her critical thinking skills. Besides, wouldn’t it be more fun to make up your own stories with your toddler? We sure think so!
Singing allows for the development of phonological awareness (speech sounds) and voice inflections, which are important aspects of a toddler’s speech development. Besides, we all know how easily toddlers are drawn to music. So, this is undoubtedly one of the simplest ways to engage your toddler in speech development.
While singing along with your toddler, use lots of actions and sounds (e.g. animal sounds) and pair them with specific words to reinforce vocabulary and basic language concepts.
You can lead in the beginning, but after a few repetitions, encourage your toddler to lead. It is also important for you to take pauses while singing to allow your toddler to fill in the missing words, as this can aid with speech development too. So, if you want to try out Toddler Karaoke, you can have a go at some of these fun, well-known nursery rhymes.
- Itsy Bitsy Spider
- Hokey Pokey
- London Bridge is Falling Down
- Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
- The Wheels on the Bus
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Play Ball is a great outdoor activity for your toddler’s speech development. It is especially an excellent way to promote the learning of action words (verbs), which are an important aspect of both speech and language.
While playing with your toddler, narrate and encourage actions like rolling, kicking, bouncing, and throwing to reinforce your toddler’s vocabulary alongside speech.
You can also hold on to the ball in between plays. This will get your toddler to gesture or ask for the ball back. Besides promoting speech, this will also help your toddler learn how to make requests – one of the first social functions of language. Just be sure to expand on their requests by adding words like “please” and “thank you” so that they can pick up on essential polite words early on.
Build a Tower
Build a Tower is a fun block-building game that is great for encouraging your toddler’s speech development. This is because blocks come in various sizes, colours, shapes, and prints, which helps to develop your toddler’s speech in a significant and meaningful way.
When playing with your toddler, mention the shapes and colours of the blocks out loud and get them to repeat after you. You can even help your toddler learn numbers by counting the blocks together.
Some blocks have alphabets or animal pictures printed on them. When you’re playing with such blocks, you can name them or even make the relative animal sounds. This not only engages your toddler but also promotes speech imitation. Another great way to encourage speech is to give them choices. You can hold up two different coloured or sized blocks and ask your toddler to choose.
Mommy the Explorer
Mommy the Explorer is yet another fun outdoor activity that is great for your toddler’s speech development. First of all, from objects to people, animals, colours, and more, the vocabulary in nature is infinite. Secondly, and perhaps most important, is the fact that movement is said to help increase engagement in learning. Enough said.
You and your toddler can go exploring in your neighbourhood or at a nearby park. If you want your toddler to learn a more specific vocabulary, take them to the zoo, aquarium, or children’s museum.
As you explore, observe your surroundings and stop often to point to things. Take a moment to describe them to your toddler; their shapes, colours, moods, etc. You can also pick up a few things and name them for your toddler. You can also encourage speech by asking your toddler what he or she sees.
Tip: MumChecked has all the items you will need for the activities listed above on its website, including children’s books, balls, and building blocks. So, look no further, mommies!
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