5 Activities to Encourage Your Toddler’s Speech Development

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. 

But Why is Talking Important?

Before diving into the activities, let’s briefly explore why talking with your toddler matters so much. As adults, talking and interacting with the people around us is such a basic and natural part of our daily lives that we might not even realise its importance to the early development of babies and toddlers. In detail, talking more to your little ones benefits them in the following ways:

  • It Boosts Your Child’s Brain Development

Here’s an interesting fact: your baby’s brain triples in size in the first three years of their life. In fact, eighty percent of your baby’s brain physical development happens during their first three years, and external stimulation like talking more to your baby can greatly benefit this process. Here’s how — your baby’s brain becomes much more complex as it becomes bigger, it forms synapses at an astonishingly rapid rate of around 700 synapses per second in their first few years. Synapses are the ‘connections’ that the human brain needs to learn, think and process information. Talking to your baby stimulates the important connections in your baby’s brain that process language. Hence, the more you talk to your baby, the stronger these brain connections get. This process ultimately sets a strong foundation for your child’s language skills and learning ability, which brings us to our next point.

  • It Supports Your Child’s Cognitive & Language Development 

According to the multi-organisational initiative—TalkWithYourBaby.org, research showed that children who grow up around talkative family members are likely to have heard 30 million more words by three years old compared to their peers who didn’t. The same research also showed that children who hear more words by the time they reach three years old did better on tests of cognitive development and reading readiness later on. In other words, hearing more words in the early years boosts the variety and quantity of the vocabulary that your child can understand and use, which improves their language skills.

  • It Encourages Trust & Bond Between You & Your Child 

Last but not least, talking more to your child fosters a strong and engaging relationship between you and your child. Through the process of talking and interacting with you, your child will learn how to comprehend your words, express their feelings and raise their doubts. These are important social skills that help them to interact better with others in school and the workplace in the future.

5 Fun Activities to Do With Your Toddler

Now that we understand the importance of talking with our toddlers, let’s explore five engaging activities to enhance their speech development:

Reading Hour

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!  

Toddler Karaoke

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

Play Ball

Baby Playing With Parents

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! 

Have Bilingual Children? Here Are Some Handy Tips!

Living in a multi-racial country like Singapore, being fluent in more than one language can be very beneficial for your children when interacting with people from different cultural backgrounds in school and beyond. So if you choose to raise your little one in a bilingual environment, here are some tips that you may consider:

  1. Expose your child to both languages consistently. The more often your children listen to and interact with a certain language, the better their vocabulary and grammatical development of that language will be. To achieve this, you and your spouse can consider the one-person-one-language method. For example, if your mother tongue is Mandarin while your spouse’s is English, you may speak Mandarin to your children while your spouse speaks English to them. Or, if your little one’s school is mainly an English-speaking environment, you may focus on speaking another non-English native language at home.
  2. Emphasise the language quality. Other than the duration of your children’s exposure to the language, the quality of linguistic input also influences their language learning ability. For instance, instead of letting your children watch low-quality television content, you may read books or have more face-to-face interactions with them. Meanwhile, letting your little ones participate in cultural activities is a great way for them to learn their native language and get to know their cultural heritage too!
  3. Get the support of your friends and family. If you and your spouse are both not very fluent in a particular language that you want to help your child master, letting them interact with many different speakers of the language can improve their language proficiency. For instance, if both you and your partner don’t speak Mandarin and you are interested in helping your child learn it, consider having them interact more with family members, friends, or other children who speak Mandarin would be helpful.

PEM is the No.1 confinement agency Singapore with experienced and well trained confinement nannies to give new mothers and their newborns the best care. We provide a comprehensive confinement nanny agency Singapore service for you. Our services include both day time confinement nanny and nighttime baby care, breastfeeding guidance, and confinement food and bath (packed with confinement bath herbs) preparations. Feel free to contact us at +65 6293 9249 to learn more about our confinement Singapore service.


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