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Parents are the Best Teachers! Everyday Opportunities for Language Development

Speech Therapy Staff
November 11, 2016

Everyday family activities can be used to increase a child’s language and vocabulary. Any time a parent or caregiver does anything with a child, that opportunity can be used to increase the child’s vocabulary and language concepts.

In addition to naming items when you see them, here are some additional ideas for increasing language during everyday activities.

Preparing and eating meals

  • Talk about what you are making for dinner.
  • Talk about what you are doing as you prepare your meal.
  • Label ingredients and utensils you use to prepare your meal.
  • Label items as you set the table and serve the meal.
  • Talk about what you are doing as you serve and eat the meal.
  • Look for opportunities to use these types of words:
    • Food items: names of foods, types of drinks, snack foods, vegetables, dairy products, fruits,
    • Verbs: eat, drink, cut, chew, wipe, open, close,
    • Utensils: plate, cup, spoon, bowl, fork,
    • Adjectives: more, cold, hot, full, empty, all gone,
    • Expressive terms: mmmm, yummy, more.

Dressing

  • Talk about body parts as you are getting your child dressed, such as eyes, arms, legs, head, neck, fingers, feet, toes, knees, shoulders.
  • Describe the articles of clothing (such as sock, shirt, pants, dress, shorts, shoes), the color, and what action you are taking (such as zip, pull, sit, stand, snap, button).
  • Getting dressed provides great opportunities to use prepositions (in, on, off, open, close) and relational terms (back, front, first, next, last).

Driving in the car

  • Name objects as you pass them.
  • Talk about what you are doing when you are in the car.
  • Talk about where you are going.
  • Talk about what you will do when you arrive at your destination.
  • Name stores and buildings as you pass them.

Grocery shopping

  • Name items as you put them in your cart.
  • Talk about what you are doing as you move through the grocery store.
  • Talk about what you are doing when you check out.
  • Talk about the food you are buying.
  • Describe fruits and vegetables using your five senses.

Walking or playing outside

  • Talk about what you are doing as you play outside.
  • Name objects that you and your child see as you walk around outside.
  • Talk about what’s up in the sky and down on the ground.
  • Ask your child to point to things as you name them.
  • Use your senses to describe things you find outside.

Play time

  • Look for opportunities to expand language using these verbs: kick, roll, push, pull, throw, drop, catch, stack, slide, swing, jump, run, stop, go.
  • Playing is a great time to use these prepositions: under, in, on, through, up, down, over.
  • Other terms you can use during your play: all done, fall down, uh-oh, I see. 

Bath time

  • Talk about body parts as you wash your child.
  • Use the opportunity of playing in the water to describe other objects (such as water, boat, soap, bubbles, shampoo, duck, towel) and actions (such as splash, pour, turn on, turn off, squirt, blow, pop, rub, wash, point).
  • Bath time is a great time to experience and talk about opposite experiences, such as wet/dry, cold/hot, big/little.

Have fun teaching your child new words and ideas whenever you are together!

Credit

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