Everyday Early Intervention: Encouraging Speech Development

drawing of father reading to child

A child’s first three years is the most intensive period for acquiring speech and language skills. These skills develop best in an environment filled with a variety of sights, sounds, and consistent exposure to the speech and language of others. Children communicate with others long before they can speak. Use these activities to help promote speech development. 

Sharing Books

  • Point to pictures 
  • Practice animal sounds 
  • Encourage child to repeat words 
  • Stop to let child finish sentences in familiar books 
  • Ask what happens next 

Playing Games

  • Play “so big”; how big is Elena? 
  • Play peek-a-boo 
  • Dump and fill cups of water in the bathtub; talk about the water temperature, color of cups 
  • Play “I spy” … a flower, a ball, a car, a dog 

Singing Songs

  • Play children’s music while playing 
  • Make up songs as you go about your day, such as “Shampoo, shampoo, bubbles, bubbles, bubbles, bubbles” while in the bathtub 
  • Sing silly songs with made up words or change a letter in the words, such as “I like to eat, eat, eat apples & bananas, I like to oat, oat, oat, oples & banonos” 
  • Sing songs with numbers or rhymes, such as “One, two, buckle my shoe” 

Throughout the Day

  • Repeat sounds infants make 
  • Expand upon words infants and toddlers say 
  • Talk about what you see 
  • Talk about what you are doing 
  • Find shapes and colors around you 
Publication date: 2021