Speech Therapy: Activities to Promote Language

Speech Therapy: Activities to Promote Language with Late Talkers and Preschool Children

Speech pathology is the assessing, diagnosing and treating of various communication disorders. If your child is experiencing difficulty with speaking, listening, reading, writing or comprehension, getting professional speech therapy is simply a must!

There are, however, many speech therapy activities you can do with your children at home to help them. Don’t worry, these aren’t hectic, professional level programs. They are designed to be fun and effective everyday play activities. After all, play therapy is extraordinarily effective.

Play therapy

It is important to realise that children learn best when they are having fun and interacting positively.

Play therapy promotes:

  • Joint attention skills
  • Taking turns
  • Social interaction

These skills are all necessary for the promotion and facilitation of language. Not to mention that play is tied to a child’s development not only linguistically, but social, emotionally, physically and cognitively as well.

Speech Therapy Strategies

The activities and ideas we’ve outlined below utilise three main strategies to use when playing with your child.

(1) Modelling or commenting

This strategy involves the naming of an object or the making of a comment on the action involved in the activity.

(2) Expansion

Expansion involves repeating what your child said and then adding another word. Aim to add one word and help them repeat it in a grammatically correct way.

(3) Choices

It’s important to offer choices during play therapy. Ask your child, “do you want X or Y?”. Always make sure you provide them with both choices.

“It is a happy talent to know how to play.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Activities to promote language with late talkers and preschool children

To help you with your play therapy at home, we’ve put together a list of helpful activities that are easy to do at home. We’ve then filled out a table with examples of each of the strategies we outlined above to assist you in your play.

Have a look through some of our activity ideas, find one that works for you and have a go at the various strategies.

ActivityModelling/Commenting ExamplesExpansion ExamplesChoices Examples
Blowing Bubbles• Bubbles
• Blow
• Pop
• Up
• All gone
• Go
Repeat what the child has said and add another word.
• Bubbles (yes, pop/blow bubbles)
• Pop (pop the bubbles)
Offer choices.
• Who gets to blow?
• Where are the bubbles being blown? e.g., outside, inside, body part, high, low
• Build a wall
• Build a tower
• Build a tunnel
• Block bowling
• Block sorting (shapes or colours)
• Build
• Crash
• Blocks
• Colours
• Tower
• Go
Repeat what the child has said and add another word.
• Tower (yes, a big tower)
• Build (we are building a tower)
Offer choices.
• Who builds?
• Types of blocks
• What to build next?
• Ramp
• Throwing and catching
• Kicking
• Bowling
• Ramp
• Throwing into a box
• Ball
• Kick
• Throw
• Catch
• Up
• Down
• Roll
• Go
Repeat what the child has said and add another word.
• Ball (throw/kick/roll ball)
• Go (ready, set go!)
Offer choices.
• Where to play
• Who to throw to?
• Type of ball
• What to do with the ball e.g. Should we roll or throw the ball?
• Pretend play (animals eat, sleep, walk etc)
• Sensory (animals in sand/water/ rice)
• Animal names
• Animal sounds
• Eat
• Drink
• Walk
• Jump
Repeat what the child has said and add another word.
• Dog (the dog is walking)
• Woof (the dog says woof)
Offer choices.
• Type of animal
• What the animal will do next
• Choice of sound e.g., does a duck say moo or quack?
Puzzles• Name of puzzle part e.g., eyes, animal, tree
• Push
• Uh oh / Yay
• Where is…
• Top
• Bottom
• Side
Repeat what the child has said and add another word.Offer choices.
• Shape moulds
• Make a face
• Make a house
• Playdough
• Cut
• Push
• Colours
• Squish
• I made an X
• Roll
Repeat what the child has said and add another word.
• Red (red playdough)
• Cut (cutting the playdough)
Offer choices.
• Should we roll of cut the playdough?
• What colour?
• Should we make a star or a circle?
• Tunnel
• House
• Hide and seek
• What’s in the box?
• Pretend play
• Box
• Open
• Close
• Lid
• Stuck
• In
• On
• Under
Repeat what the child has said and add another word.
• Box (the box is big)
• Open (open the box)
Offer choices.
• Should we put dog or the teddy in the box?
• Should you or Mummy/Daddy look in the box next?
Train set
• Make tracks
• Make a ramp
• Pretend play
• Train
• Track
• Train driver
• Push
• Go
• Fast
• Slow
• Crash
• All aboard
Repeat what the child has said and add another word.
• Go (ready set go)
• Train (yes, the train is driving)
Offer choices.
• Fast or slow?
• Under or over the tunnel?
• Red or blue train?


We hope this list of fun activities helps you aid your child in developing their language skills.

At One Central Health, our professional and highly qualified speech therapists are always happy to chat to you about any questions or concerns you might have about your child’s language development. Want to book an appointment? Get in touch with us today.


– Natara Brown

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