Language Development Activities for 2-3 Year Olds

November 28, 2022

Language development is a key aspect of any child's growth, and many parents worry that they could be the cause of their child's speech delay. More often than not, that isn't the case, though. 

Did you know that regular speech and verbal activities can help your child develop their speaking ability and avoid language development delays? To put your mind at ease, we'll show you five fun-filled, engaging language development activities for your 2-3 year old that you can implement in your daily routine to help them learn and grow. 

What Is a Language Development Delay?

First, let’s establish what exactly a language development delay is. A language development delay is when a child has difficulty understanding or using spoken language at an age where it should come naturally to them. 

Examples of speech and language that a child could be struggling with include:

  • Saying first words
  • Learning new words
  • Responding to language
  • Understanding sentences and words
  • Putting words together to make a sentence
  • Building up a vocabulary repertoire 

5 Language Development Activities for 2-3-Year-Olds

While some of these delays are associated with specific conditions, like autism, Down Syndrome, or deafness, many of them occur naturally on their own. 

Since many language development delays occur naturally, it's important to work with your child to keep them on track and prevent them from happening in the first place. Early intervention specialists have gathered a collection of activities and exercises to do with children to help aid them in their language development. 

Here, we'll cover five fantastic language development activities for 2-3-year-olds that you can use as your child grows. 

1. Play “Name This Thing”

It's easy to play the "Name This Thing" game, but it can significantly impact your child's speech and language development. Simply point to various objects in your house and ask your toddler to name them. Help them along the way by naming the object yourself, then allowing them to do so. The goal is that eventually, when you point to household objects, your child will be able to recognize and name them themselves. 

This game is a fantastic way to improve a toddler's vocabulary. One of the best parts about this activity is that it can be played anywhere – in your home, the supermarket, or even a park!

2. Read Books

Reading to your toddler on a daily basis is a terrific way to introduce them to new words. Early-level books with simple storylines and pictures are best to keep them entertained and engaged. As you read along, ask your child simple questions about the story and what they see on the pages. Asking them to identify what's in the pictures is excellent, too. 

Remember if your child has a shorter attention span, you do not have to read every word on each page when first beginning. Point and name pictures and actions on the page and turn to the next page to keep momentum going and maintain joint attention with your child. 

Reading to toddlers will significantly improve their vocabulary and teach them to respond accurately to questions they're asked. 

3. Use Toys and Puppets

Various toys and puppets can be great tools for working on language skills. Give your child puppets or toys that you can make characters out of (dolls, action figures, stuffed animals, etc.) and allow their imagination to come to life. Show your children how to use the toys to have conversations; once you show them the way, they'll quickly catch on and take over. 

Using toys to work on conversation and vocabulary is a fun-filled way to captivate your child. Through play, they'll learn how to answer questions, have a conversation flow naturally, and stay engaged with other people.  

4. Sing Songs

One of the most enjoyable language development activities for 2-3-year-olds is singing songs. Research studies have shown that music is an excellent aid for memory and language learning. The brain is made up of neurons that use electrical and chemical impulses to transmit and process information in the brain. These neurons are fired up when we sing, increasing synaptic growth. To put it more simply – music is like exercise for the brain

Singing simple nursery rhymes and songs to your children is a wonderful way to introduce new words while assisting with focus, memory, and language development. Plus, music causes the brain to release dopamine (a.k.a the happy hormone), so you'll have a happy toddler on your hands

5. Build With Blocks

Sure, building blocks are a carefree toy to play with. They're also a top-tier tool to use during language skill development. Playing with blocks with your child is an opportunity to introduce words and phrases they'll use in their everyday lives. Introduce terms like "higher up," "fall down," and "left and right." You can also use building blocks as an opportunity to work on naming colors and counting numbers. 

In addition to speech, blocks can also facilitate imaginative play – which boosts the development of problem-solving and self-regulation skills.

Are You Concerned About Your Child’s Language Development?

If you're trying to engage your 2-3-year-old in some of these activities, and they just don't seem to be able to get the hang of it, it may be a good idea to consult with an early interventionist. The About Play team is here to help. Work with you one-on-one and answer any questions you might have. 


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