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Language Development Activities for Toddlers

By Denise Stern ; Updated June 13, 2017

Encouraging your toddler to increase his vocabulary, use of sentence structure or phrases involves time, practice and patience. Teaching language development to toddlers requires communication and interaction with others. While many parents succumb to baby-talking to their toddlers -- which is fine once in a while -- you should also speak to your toddler using proper pronunciation and vocabulary to enhance language development.


Talk with your toddler as often as you can. She doesn't have to respond or understand everything you say, but hearing you speak will increase her sense of bonding and trust and will increase her attempts to respond and to use speech, speech patterns and emphasis. Facial gestures often accompany speech, such as when you praise your toddler or express affection and love.

Play Word Games

Ask your toddler where the doggie is. Tell him to show you his bed. By asking questions, you may help your toddler identify different speech patterns, such as the difference between a question and an exclamation, such as “Don't touch!" when he reaches for something that may prove harmful. Your toddler doesn't have to answer the question. You can do that. However, repetition breeds familiarity, which is the key to encouraging and prompting speech and language.

Read Storybooks

Storybooks that are rich in graphics or pictures aid in teaching a toddler new vocabulary. Start with books that contain pictures of different animals or colors. Point out trees, flowers, dogs or cats, repeating the process every day, and before you know it, your toddler will be doing the same.

Practice Speech

Your toddler may attempt to speak and will most often mispronounce words to start. Gently encourage the toddler to say the word correctly. For example, a toddler may say "bee-oon" for balloon or "ot" for hot, but a parent or caregiver can say the word correctly every time to guide the toddler into correct pronunciation. For example, if a child points to a "bee-oon," a parent may say, "You see the balloon? Isn't it pretty?"

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