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Communication is a crucial aspect of cognitive development in children. Language development is essential 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.
11 Activities for Language Development in Toddlers
The following communication and language activities for toddlers can help your child learn and model his language skills.
1. Play the Telephone Game
A toy telephone can be an active part of your little one’s playtime. Get a pair of toy telephones and pretend that you are dialling his number to call him. Encourage him to pick up the phone and answer. Teach him how to say ‘hello’ when he answers the phone. Doing this activity regularly can help your child develop good phone etiquette and improve his speaking skills.
2. Sing With Him
Singing lyrics of rhymes and songs can help your toddler improve his language while having fun. You may also introduce new words and teach him nouns and verbs using a song.
3. Play ‘Name the Thing’
Point to various objects in your house and ask your toddler to name them. You can help him with the names 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 – your house, in the park, or even in the supermarket.
4. Speak in Complete Sentences
Ask your toddler 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 construct strong, coherent sentences. Ask your child simple things like, “do you want an orange?” and teach him to respond in a full sentence. This practice will act as a strong foundation for the future, as he will be able to articulate his thoughts better.
5. Read Him Books
Reading to your toddler every night is a great way to introduce him to different 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 improve his vocabulary and teach him to give accurate responses to the questions asked.
6. Join the Dots
Draw a dotted outline of the different letters of the alphabet. Now, ask your toddler to join these dots and identify the letter. This will 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 them. Kids are creative and imaginative – once you show them the way, they will take over. You can also use puppets to have simple conversations with your child. Put on a puppet show to make playtime more enjoyable.
8. Match the Alphabet
Draw the letters of the alphabet on cardboard and hand it to your child. Next, give him pictures of objects and ask him to identify them. Then, ask him to match the picture with the starting letter of the object. This way, he will use phonetics to match the letters to the object, thus building his ability to spell correctly.
9. Set an Obstacle Course
If your toddler is over two years of age, you can create a simple obstacle course around the house. Give your child one instruction at a time so that he doesn’t get confused. Give him some time to complete the activity. You can also write out instructions on paper and place them around the house.
For example, if you want him to sit in a box, place a chit on the box that says, “sit inside the box.” You can then instruct him further and wait for him to follow through. Once he is in tune with the activity, you can try giving him more than just one instruction at a time and challenge him to complete it within a period of time.
10. Have Intelligent Conversations With Him
Even though your child may not be able to immediately respond to you, he will be listening keenly. Ask him for his opinions, thoughts, likes, and dislikes. Listen to him when he responds, and repeat what he said using coherent, grammatically correct sentences. This can help him express himself better and improve his articulation.
11. Stress on the Details
Whenever you are having a conversation with your child, encourage him to speak to you in vivid detail. Point out an object on the street (say, a car) and ask him what it is. When he says ‘car’, add more details to it (“It’s a car. A blue and black, long car.”). This will build your child’s vocabulary and develop his observation skills.
Your child will 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 poor language skills after the age of three despite having performed these activities, consult your doctor to check for any underlying causes of hearing impairment or any other disability.
Resources and References: Parents
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