I often write about great games and toys that you can purchase to help improve your child’s language skills. However, it’s always possible to increase your child’s language skills during your normal daily routine, without the use of special toys. One of the best ways to work on language skills with your child is in your natural environment. Continue reading for simple no-toy activities to improve language skills.
10 Language Activities That Don’t Require Toys
1. Cook together. Cooking with your child provides many opportunities to work on increasing vocabulary, following directions, and answering questions. Let your child be part of the process of making a simple meal. Read more about this here.
2. Mealtime. During mealtimes, try to sit facing your child. You can give your child small pieces of his meal at a time. When he finishes, your child can request for more food from you. You can also talk with your child during this time about what both of you are eating.
3. Take a neighborhood walk. Take a neighborhood stroll with your child. Take turns talking about things you see (Ex. “I see a red car” or “I see a big tree”). Help your child talk about the things he sees. Try to increase the length of your child’s sentences. If he says “bus”, you can say “Yes, you see a yellow bus”.
4. Read books. I can’t emphasize this activity enough. Reading together is so important to help improve your child’s vocabulary, grammar, and ability to inference. Reading also offers great opportunities to ask your child questions about what is happening on the pages. Check out some great books to read together here.
5. Bath time. Bath time is a wonderful time to spend together with your child. While you’re helping your child take his bath, take this time to talk about what you’re doing. For example, “Let’s wash your arms” or “Now we are washing your hair”. You can ask your child where he wants to pour water; On your head or on your toes?.
6. Dressing time. Let your child be part of the process of picking out clothes and getting dressed. You can provide your child with a few options and let him request for the one he wants. This is also a great time to talk about body parts (Ex. “Where do your socks go? On your ears or on your feet?”). You can also practice following directions during this activity; Put on your shirt and then your socks.
7. Play I Spy. I Spy is an awesome game that works on language skills and requires no toys. It also can be played anywhere; in your house, at the park, or while in the doctor’s waiting room. The game is great for listening skills as well as expanding expressive language. Start with easy objects that are very visible. For example “I spy something with my little eye that is round, it bounces, and you can throw it” ( a ball). Once your child understands the game, see if he can describe a simple object to you.
8. Sing songs. Many songs for young children are very repetitive in nature. They are great for your child to follow along and hopefully sing along as well. Try to sing part of a song that your child knows and stop in the middle of a line, see if your child will fill in the blank. For a great list of songs click here.
9. Draw pictures. Drawing with your child is an easy activity to work on a number of language skills. You can hold onto the crayons or markers and have your child request for each color from you. You can also provide your child with directions of things to draw (Ex. Draw a blue circle). After drawing, have your child tell you about the picture he made. Learn more drawing pictures and language skills here.
10. Play Simon Says. This classic game is great for following directions and expanding sentences. Provide your child with simple one step directions (Ex. Simon says touch your toes). You can also give your child a two-step direction such as, Simon says touch your toes and then touch your head. Take turns being “Simon” with your child.
There you have it….10 language activities that don’t require toys! Comment below and let me know your favorite activities that don’t use toys to work on language skills with your child.