Playing games with your child is a perfect way to spend time together and work on increasing language skills. You can work with your child on turn-taking skills, following directions, increasing vocabulary, and expanding utterances. Below are 5 language development games to get you started working on these goals.
When playing Candy Land with your child, have him request for his turn (“My turn” or “It’s my turn”). He can also remind you when it’s your turn. When your child turns over a card have him label the color on the card. If he is working on expanding his sentences, model expanded sentences, such as “red square” “I got a red” or “Two reds”. This game is also great to help kids learn colors and counting.
Zingo is great for working on vocabulary! It has such great common objects on each card, such as a shoe, a house, and a cup. Each word is also written out on the card so it’s helpful if your child is learning sight words. Your child will also love pushing the “zinger” and watching the cards appear. Have your child label the cards he finds. If he is working on expanding sentences then have him use phrases such as “I got house” or “I found house”. You can also work on pragmatic language skills such as turn-taking. Zingo will help your child learn matching skills as well. If your child’s language skills are a bit more advanced then ask him questions about the objects he gets (ex. “Where does a bird fly?” or “What do you do with a cup?”).
My clients LOVE this game! You and your child can take turns putting a sword in the barrel. One of the spots will make the pirate pop out of the barrel. Have your child request for a sword when it’s his turn. If your child is using single words then have him communicate his request by saying just the color. If you are working on expanding sentences, then have your child say “I want red” or “I want a red sword”.
4. Pop the Pig
Another favorite game with the kids! Your child will love feeding the pig burgers and watching his belly grow until he pops. If your child is younger than four, then I would recommend skipping the dice. Have your child request for a burger (ex. “red”, “red burger”, or “I want a red”). Turn the burger around and have your child label the number on the back. Count out loud with your child when pushing the pig’s hat to make his belly grow. This game is great for color and number vocabulary, as well as turn-taking. If your child is a bit older then use the dice to find out what color burger you should pick.
Memory is a classic game but the language opportunities are endless. The game helps to promote vocabulary development, matching skills, understanding the concepts of same and different, following directions, and increasing sentence length. When your child turns over two cards ask him if his cards are the same or different. If the cards are the same, then model for your child “It’s a match”. During the memory game, have your child talk about the cards he turns over (ex. “I found a bear”). If your child is working on answering questions, you can ask him about the cards he turns over, such as “Where does the penguin live?”.
Although these games are great for increasing language skills, remember to have FUN!
Check out this article about 10 Language Development Toys.