Toys Can Help Your Child’s Language Development

Here are some ideas on how to encourage language development with your child using a favorite toy of girls and boys around the world…a ball.

 With your baby . . .

  • Use a ball to encourage babbling. Say, “bababa” and take turns tapping on the ball.
  • If she can sit up or crawl, roll the ball back and forth to her. As you roll the ball to her, say, “Ball”.
  • Once she knows this game, wait a few seconds before you roll the ball to her. Watch for her actions, facial expressions, and squeals to tell you she wants you to roll the ball again.

With your toddler . . .

  • Match your words to what he says. If he says 1 word at a time, you say 1 word at a time.
  • Use words like, roll, kick, throw, down, up, and more.
  • Use short 2-word sentences that he can copy like, kick ball or ball up. Repeat these words and phrases over and over.

With your preschooler . . .

  • Hide the ball. Ask “Where is it?” to help her learn words like under, on, in, or behind.
  • Talk about what kind of ball you have – a soccer ball, baseball, and so on.
  • Talk about how the ball feels. Is it bumpy, soft, or hard? Is it big or small?
  • Play ball with the whole family. Let her tell you what to do. She can say “Roll the ball to me”, “Kick the ball to Mommy”, or “Bounce the ball to Daddy”. Take turns.
  • Remember: Talk about what you and your child are doing. Talk in your language.

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