Speech & Language Developmental Tips!

April 01, 2015

Hi folks, this is the last installment on developmental milestones for young children. Previous posts included lists of resources and activities for motor skills.

This one’s all about speech and language ideas (of which I have many).

As always, I like to keep things simple and realistic for all the parents, caregivers and grandparents out there. Here are some ideas for your little ones. Enjoy…


For toddlers

  1. Sing Along: I cannot stress enough the importance of music for young children. Music is something that occurs in every culture out there. Songs like Baa-baa black sheep and The Wheels on the Bus, all contain words with early developing sounds (ba, ma, wa, ah, gah). Focus less on your child’s actual productions. Instead, focus on their anticipation, waiting for the next sounds in the song. Eventually, wait for them to start to fill in some of the sounds (or their baby version of those sounds). If you’re not the singing type, What to Expect is a great resource for ideas.  
  1. Baby Play: Kids this age are always listening and absorbing. They love that things go away and come back. Play this with their favorite stuffed animals, yourself and their beloved items (like blankets, luvvies, toy keys etc). Sit your baby facing you in your lap or in a chair. Pretend that these items go away ( vary your actions: walk, run, hop, roll away) and then come back. This will develop language skills for action words, location and cause and effect. Remember the old portions of sesame street with NEAR/CERCA and FAR/LEJOS – this is the same idea. For a great list of ideas and activities try Asha.org.

For preschoolers

  1. Blast from the Past: Believe it or not, kids around 3 and 4 love to hear about when you were a kid. Find old pictures of you (likely physical pictures, not located in your phone). Talk about things you did, what you liked/didn’t like or how you looked in those photos. Then find pictures of your child (physical or digital) and talk about what they’re up to. Put the photos out at their level or in a small photo book that they can refer back to. This will help build cognitive thinking skills as well as language skills for comparing, wondering, asking + answering questions.
  1. Exposure to Letters: Most preschool kids are exposed to some letter recognition activities (A is for apple). Every moment doesn’t need to be a formal teaching moment. You can follow up with school or day care’s activities. Draw a bunch of things that start with each letter that are important to your child already (B is for baby doll, bear, ball, banana). Have your child paint or color these drawings at home. For those that prefer to be craftier, here’s another site for you.

For school age kids

  1. All by Myself: Kids around 5 really love to think + talk about things they can do on their own. Begin to make a list of things your child can do by themselves and another list about things they need help with. Attach it to the fridge or somewhere close by- add to it when you notice their accomplishments at home, school or in the community (today you did the monkey bars by yourself)
  1. Time to Rhyme: Expose your kids to rhyming activities. Be sure to read those Dr. Seuss books, along with making up your own songs and stories. Kids this age often like drawing and some writing. Spend a rainy weekend making rhyming books together. Scholastic is a great resource Here’s another resource: http://www.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=1258

As always, thanks for reading.. Till the next post, take care.


Vanessa D’Auria is a licensed speech-language pathologist providing home-based services in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan. For more information about Vanessa, visit speechtherapyvanessadauria.com or to ask speech/language questions, email directly at speechtherapynyc@gmail.com.


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