Building Language During Play

Enrichment Therapies

January 11, 2017

By Jaimi Bird, M.A., CCC-SLP

Is your child behind in speech and language skills for her age?  Are you wondering what you can do at home to help your child improve their skills?   Here are some great ways to incorporate language learning into your daily routines.

PLAY!   Play is a wonderful way to model language and social interaction while spending quality time with your child.  You know your child best, choose a favorite activity and play! 

While you are playing NARRATE. Talk about what you are doing. Use short, simple, and repetitive, but grammatically accurate, sentences when you talk.  For example, if you are playing with balls, you might say things like, “My ball”,  “Red ball”, “Go ball”, “Give me the ball”.

TAKE TURNS. Communication is all about reciprocating.  I talk and you respond, you talk and I respond.  Practice turn-taking in play.  For example, if you are playing with baby dolls, first you will feed the baby doll, and then your child will feed the baby doll.  Don’t forget to talk about what you are doing- narrate!  This not only teaches turn-taking, which is an important component of communication, it also encourages shared play and attention. 

READ TOGETHER!  Children’s books are filled with repetitive phrases, rhymes, and new vocabulary.  While reading, talk about the illustrations and point at things you see.  Ask simple questions like, “Where is the dog?” and “What is that?”   When reading a familiar book, let your child read too by having them fill in parts of repetitive phrases.  For example, “Brown bear what bear what do you _____?”   or “One fish, two fish, red fish, blue _____”.   Each book you read with your child broadens their vocabulary and provides another opportunity for them to hear and use language. 

Trust your own instincts, if you are concerned about your child’s speech and language skills, contact us at Enrichment Therapy and Learning Center, our speech-language pathologists can provide an evaluation and partner with you to help your son or daughter communicate at an age-appropriate level.

Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center has locations in the Iowa City, IA area and Des Moines, IA area. We provide individual speech-language therapy and tutoring as well as offering small group academic programs.  At Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center our passion is to help kids achieve effective communication skills and gain academic success.  Contact us for more information on how we can help your child succeed.

740 Community Drive, Unit A

North Liberty, IA 52317


5530 West Pkwy, Suite 300

Johnston, IA 50131


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