Developing early language skills

It is important to grasp opportunities throughout the day to play but it is also important to set aside a specific time. We call this ‘speech/language time’. This refers to 5-10 minutes every day (or whenever you manage) in which you work through structured activities with the children without any distractions using only speech and language based activities. This post continues from the earlier blog, early child language development activities.

Aims: These speech language therapy activities target auditory memory, linguistic and basic concepts skills.

Objectives: The objective of the speech language therapy activities is to build the foundations of linguistic and conceptual knowledge as well processing and memory skills in children.

1. Concepts

Find items, which describe the following basic concepts.

Hard, Soft, Cold, Top, Bottom, Up, Down, Big, Long, short, Full , Empty Large, Small, Wet, Dry,

Introduce 1-2 words at each session using objects e.g. soft/hard or cold/hot. Ask the children to feel the objects that are soft/hard/cold/warm, so they can get tactile feedback to support their understanding. Other ways could be:

  • up/down/top/bottom can be used with walking up and down the stairs.
  • Use a feely bag and ask them to pull out an object and then label it it e.g. ithe bear is soft etc.

2. Following Instructions

Place a number of different objects on the floor (apple, car, blocks, and books) and then ask the children a simple instruction using these objects e.g. put the apple in box. Then instructions will get gradually get more difficult and help improve attention and listening skills.

e.g. Put the X in the box, then, put X in the box then put the X in the box

3a. Internal Vocabulary Building

The aim of this activity is to build up the child’s ability to categorise words internally. DO NOT ASK THEM TO NAME ANYTHING. YOU DO THE NAMING FOR THEM

Find items that belong to two different categories e.g. toys vs clothes, or food vs animals The aim is to put them into two different boxes e.g. all clothes together and all the modes of transport together.

Hold up the item, name it to the child and then place it into one of the boxes box.

Then hold up another item and label it ‘car’….. this time get the child to place it in the ‘ toy box or the clothes box?

The goal is for the child to listen, take the item and place it in the correct box.

By Labelling everything for the Child, eventually he will start to use the names to comment. Only move on to 3b once 3a is working well

3b. Naming Objects at 1 word level

Show children pictures of animals/toys/transport using flash cards or objects. Ask the children to label them in speech, If they are not sure what the word is, then prompt them with a sound. E.g. moo for cow.

select 10 words to begin with and go over these, until he is producing 7-8 correctly then move onto a new set of 10.

Each se of 10 words you choose should be based related and from the same category e.g. food/clothes etc.

The flashcards can be bought here:

Timetable of activities don’t do all the above in one go space them out over the week:


Tuesday- Following Instructions

Wednesday-Internal Vocab building

Thursday- Repeat Monday

Friday – Repeat Tues or Weds

These speech language therapy activities can be delivered as part of speech of an intervention programme designed by the speech therapist.

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