5 Simple Language Play Ideas for Language Development

5 Simple Language Play Ideas for Language Development

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Literacy activities doesn’t have to mean worksheets. Language development through play is one of the best ways to young toddlers and preschoolers to learn literacy ideas.

Kristina is sharing some language play ideas with us today. Five language play ideas actually. She’s one of the moms behind the amazing blog, Toddler Approved. Kristina is the mom to a preschooler and a baby.

She’s very fun at sneaking in learning. Especially name recognition. One of my all time favorite posts at Toddler Approved is her name twister game. It seems she may have a boy full of energy, just like my boys! (Her number hockey game is also a must see!)

How to increase language development through play!

Hi friends! I am so excited to be visiting from over at Toddler Approved! Jamie invited me to share some tips about how to incorporate language learning into every day interactions with our children.

As a teacher for children with communication disabilities (and a parent of a baby and preschooler), I have always been amazed at how many times we as adults can miss opportunities to teach children language while we play and interact with them.

Here are FIVE of my favorite ways to embed language learning in playtime… (Sometimes I am even sneaky about it.)

5 Language Play Ideas

Organize Your Space for Language Play

Organize your play space in a way that requires your child to communicate.

Keep play materials visible, but make sure that some highly motivating materials are out of reach!

When a child is asking for a toy they really want, you can motivate them to use a complete sentence to make a request.

You can help them practice using polite language (such as “please” and “thank you”).

You can also help them learn to interact with their siblings, parents, or friends, by prompting them to ask for help. Or helping them work together to problem solve.

Using Your Child’s Interests in Language Play

Build on your child’s interests and delve into more complex vocabulary.

Have you ever caught yourself using a really hard word with your preschooler and then thought…

“I should dumb that down a bit?”


Words that are new and unique to kids stick in their memories!

My three-year-old son is obsessed with volcanoes right now so we made a play-doh volcano the other day.

We learned some tough sixth grade level volcano vocabulary words like caldera, fissure, and shield.

He loved the activity and learning new words… some great language development through play.

I am a firm believer that when we challenge kids with hard things, they will often prove to us that they can do more than we think!

Use Photos of Your Child for Language Development

Incorporate photos of your child and family members in projects, playtime, and other activities.

Nothing is more motivating to toddlers and preschoolers than themselves!

My friends and family laugh at how many photos I take. But my son will talk and talk about what he did and can describe events so much better because he has a visual cue to help him along.

Here are a couple of our favorite photo activities:

Build Language Development Through Movement!

Just get moving!

I’ve discovered that when I pair language development with movemvent, kids learn 150% more than they would have if they were sitting still at a table doing a project.

The act of doing… along with talking and seeing, really gets their brains moving!

Our Ocean Animal Movement activity is by far my most shared blog post, and that is probably because kids enjoy moving their bodies while learning about ocean animals and building on their vocabulary.

Open-Ended Materials for Language Play

Create and play with interesting materials that are open-ended and can be used in a variety of ways, and then model language while you create.

I don’t know about your house, but the toys and materials at our house that are electronic, or can only be used in a specific one-two ways, often get tossed aside pretty quickly.

Blocks, Little People, trains, cars, Legos, pipe cleaners, pom poms, lids, play-doh, boxes, and other materials that can be used in multiple ways are the favorites around here.

These materials used for fine motor skills are often ones that can be used in many, many ways!

I love to set up materials and play spaces with interesting materials to see what happens.

Exploration leads to asking a lot of questions and learning new vocabulary at our house. All through just playing.

These FIVE tips are pretty basic, but they can really enhance your child’s language development.

Literacy activities doesn't have to mean worksheets. Language development through play is one of the best ways to young toddlers and preschoolers to learn literacy ideas.

Do you have any other tips for embedding language learning in play?

We would love to hear them! Come share them today over at our Facebook pages: Toddler Approved and Hands On As We Grow.

I’m Kristina, a mom of two (a preschooler and baby) and a former Special Education teacher for children with communication disabilities. I write about our creative explorations over at Toddler Approved. I blog alongside one of my best friends and we love sharing ideas with each other and our readers. My main interest is to find ways to make life a little more fun and creative. I also love to embed language learning into everything that we do.

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