A child’s job is to play- this how they learn, explore, problem-solve and learn how to communicate. Getting down to your child’s level, talking and playing with them, and creating dialogue or stories with their toys provides priceless models for expressive language and language learning. 

When it comes to practicing age-appropriate grammar, there are more ways than pulling out worksheets to target language and still have fun!

Practicing Pronouns

Choose a boy and girl figurine. Let your child pick out two to help better associate which one is which. First, play alongside the child and model the use of pronouns:

  • Look at the people! Show me “He is sleeping” 
  • She is running fast!
  • She is at the table. She is eating
  • Now they are in the pool! They are swimming.

Make the activity fun by providing multiple props and working in different rooms or areas of your house/classroom!

Once the child has a good understanding of the pronouns, allow them to narrate or describe what they are doing during play.

  • Oh wow! Look at your people! They look like they’re having fun! Tell me what is happening.
    • If your child uses “girl, boy” or “her, his,” repeat what they said with emphasis on the correct pronoun 
    • Child: “Her is swimming”
    • Adult: “Oh, she is swimming? Wow!”

Verb Practice

Children are constantly moving and playing which provides great learning opportunities for using verb forms, such as verb+ing. Narrate what you or your child is doing with extra emphasis on the verb. Children need to understand language before they can use it, so give lots of models! Adult: “Look at you! You’re jumping! You’re jumping on the trampoline! Wow, you are so good at jumping! Look how high you’re going. What are you doing on the trampoline?”
Child: “Jump!”
Adult: “That’s right! You’re jumping!”

Activities that Don’t Require Materials

Engaging your child in activities like cooking and shopping sets you up for a ton of language opportunities! You can talk about:

  • Shapes, colors, textures size
  • Sequencing: First I’m going to ___, and then I’m going to ____.
  • Verb+ing: walking, choosing, opening, closing, stirring, cleaning, eating
  • Pronouns by looking at people in the store:
  • She has a hat, He is buying milk, He is holding pretty flowers, She is looking at apples 

The most important part of targeting language through play is to get down on your child’s eye level and have fun! Just sitting down and playing for 5-10 minutes provides your child with an incredible amount of language models, as well as a special time with mom or dad!

The most important part of targeting language through play is to get down on your child’s eye level and have fun! Just sitting down and playing for 5-10 minutes provides your child with an incredible amount of language models, as well as a special time with mom or dad!

Additional Resources for Language Activities: 

https://www.tyketalk.com/language-and-play

https://www.readingrockets.org/article/activities-encourage-speech-and-language-development

https://www.speechandlanguagekids.com/make-speech-therapy-fun-home-therapy/