When toddlers and babies begin to speak, it’s fun to hear the things they babble and it’s even more fun trying to get them to say things. If your child is starting to speak, that means they’re also starting to put their thoughts and wants into words, which is an exciting time.

How to Tell Your Toddler Along
Though it’s healthy to always talk to your baby and toddler, it’s even more important to carry on conversations when they begin to speak. In the beginning, your child won’t know the words for everything, which is why you need to help them along. After all, if you don’t teach them the words for things around them or how to use their words, who will?

A great way to encourage your child to use their words to express the world around them is with language games. A good game is animal matching. Check out the game featured in this article. It includes a picture you can print out to make a matching game.

How to Play the Game

The game featured in the article shows eight animals. The animals repeat twice, so for example there will be one white dog, and one black dog. You print out two copies of the picture and then cut out the animals in one of the copies. Then, you show your child one of the cut out figures and ask them to point out the matching figure. Also, encourage your child to also verbally point out the matching figure.

The game is designed to widen your child’s vocabulary and work on ambiguous speech, that’s why there are two different versions of each animal. For example, if you show your child a picture of the white dog and ask them to match it, they may point and say “dog.” Then, ask your child which dog it is, the white or the black, and then have them repeat the words. This way, your toddler learns to not only identify animals and use their words.  They also learn to use descriptive words to explain themselves. It’s not just cat and dog, it’s spotted dog or striped cat.

Gallagher, S. (2013, August 27). Help your toddler communicate unambiguously. Psychology Today.