5 Games to Promote Language Development

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 games to get you started working on these goals.

When playing Candy Land with your child, have them request for their turn (“My turn” or “It’s my turn).  They can also remind you when it’s your turn.  When your child turns over a card have them label the color on the card.  If they are working on expanding their sentences, model expanded sentences, such as “red square” “I got a red” or “Two reds”).

2. Zingo

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.  Your child will also love pushing the “zinger” and watching the cards appear.  Have your child label the cards they find.  If they are working on expanding sentences then have them use phrases such as “I got house” or “I found house”.  You can also work on turn-taking and matching with this game. If your child’s language skills are a bit more advanced then ask them questions about the objects they get (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 or her turn.  If your child is using single words then have them 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”.

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.

5. Memory Card Game

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 or her if their cards are the same or different.  If the cards are the same, then model for your child “It’s a match”.  Have your child talk about the cards they turn over (ex. “I found a bear”).  If your child is working on answering questions, you can ask them about the cards they turn over, such as “Where does the penguin live?”.

Although these games are great for increasing language skills, remember to have FUN!

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