Article Written By: Dana Hopkins
As parents we don’t often have extra time in the day to do designated “language practice”. Luckily, that’s not necessary because you can easily build your child’s language skills in everyday activities you are already doing.
- Talk about what you see and try to add at least one describing words - “I see a beautiful, red flower”, “Look, the butterfly’s wings are quickly fluttering”. This will help your child to expand and strength their vocabulary
- Play following directions games. When playing with chalk - “First draw a red heart, then jump three times”. When playing at the park - “Go down the blue slide, twirl around two times, then run back to me”. This will allow your child to practice sequence events, as well as understanding longer, more complex instructions.
- Talk about the people you see using pronouns, such as “he”, “she” and “they” - “Look, at the girl. She is riding her bike”, “They are walking on the path”. Pronouns can be tricky for young children since they change based on gender or number of people, so practicing in everyday activities is very helpful.
- Practice understanding and using actions words, such as “pouring”, “stirring”, and “scooping”. Your child will more easily be able to remember and use new words that are learnt within fun activities.
- Have your child follow the steps in a recipe - “First pour in the flour, then crack two eggs”. This uses sequencing skills which is an important higher-level language skill.
- This is a great time to practice understanding and using new concepts:
Wet/Dry - “Your hair is dry” (pour water), “Now it is wet”
In/On/Under - “Put the duck under the water”. “Now put it in the cup”. “Now put the duck on the cup”
Empty/Full - “Look, the cup is full of water” (pour it out) “Now it is empty”
- Talk about what category different items belong to, such as “fruits” and “vegetables”. You can then provide different categories and have your child think of items that belong in that category (Vehicles = car, plane, boat, tractor, firetruck, Clothing - socks, pants, scarf, bathing suit). This will help your child to build and expand their vocabulary.
- During dinner time conversation you can practice understanding and asking WH-questions - “Who did you see today?”, “When did it rain?”. If your child is easily able to answer these questions, think of a person, animal or object and have your child ask questions to figure out what it is - “Where does the animal live?”, “What does it eat?”
These are just a few ideas of ways you can build your child’s language skills at home. Can you think of any other everyday activities that help build language?