Get Baby to talk activities
Activities for Language Development,  Everyday Routines,  The Basics

Get Baby to Talk with These No-Prep, 5-Minute Activities!

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Whether you are hoping for that precious first word from your child OR you are wondering how to encourage your toddler to talk more, the following ideas are designed to be high-interest, 5-minute activities to sprinkle throughout your week!

 

You’ll notice that most of these activities incorporate movement and/or sensory aspects to really get your little one engaged and to get baby to talk. The key here is getting the momentum going with the activity by repeating the movement or activity several times before adding an Expectant Pause (more about this below).

 

Looking for a step-by-step guide to help your Late Talker? Check out this e-book by fellow Speech-Language Pathologist called Toddler Talk. Click here to learn more about Toddler Talk

 

Steps for Activities to Get Baby to Talk (or Toddler or Special Needs Child)

 

  • Pick an activity listed below. For this explanation, I’ll use the example of tipping your child upside down.

 

  • Pick a simple word to target (I’ll list some suggestions with each activity below) but for this example I’ll choose “go.”

 

  • Repeat the movement a few times, each time saying, “Ready, Set, Go!”

 

  • Watch for your child to become really engaged (giggling, smiling, waiting for more, etc.) You might repeat this 3-5 times.

 

  • Then instead of saying, “Ready, Set, Go!” You are going to just say, “Ready, Set. . . .” and look at your child with an excited, expectant look. I call this the “Expectant Pause.” Wait a few seconds. You don’t want to get your child overly frustrated, but you want to give several seconds of wait time to give him the chance to say “go” (or anything that sounds close – we are looking for communication intent in the beginning, not perfection).

 

  • If you child says, “go” or something close (maybe just “oh”), quickly do the movement. Then celebrate and praise him, “Wow! You said ‘go!’” If he doesn’t say anything, you can model the word and then immediately do the movement so that he learns to link the word to the action.

 

*Note: These activities also can work for children who are using alternative ways to communicate including American Sign Language, “baby signs,” PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System), or high-tech AAC devices, such as voice-generating apps on a tablet.

 

RELATED: 9 Tips to Get Your Toddler Talking

 

5-Minute Activities to Encourage Your Toddler to Talk

Upside Down

Depending on the child’s age and how much she likes the sensation of being upside down, you can adjust how you get her upside down and for how long.

 

First Word to Target (Just choose one):

  • “Down!”
  • “More”
  • “Go!” (Parent can set-up by saying, “Ready, set . . .”)

(This post contains affiliate links, which means we could receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that we have recommended)

Pillow Squishes

Using a big squishy pillow (a couch throw-pillow works best at our house), gently “squish” the pillow onto your child’s body for a few seconds, making sure to avoid the face. This provides an all-over pressure that a lot of kiddos love. Plus, it’s silly!

 

First Word to Target (Just choose one):

  • “Squish”
  • “More”
  • “Go!” (Parent can set-up by saying, “Ready, set . . .”)

 Get Baby to talk activities

Baby Ups!

Want to get your baby giggling and get an upper body workout all in one? Hoist your baby/toddler up above your head. My husband even gives our daughter a little air!

 

First Word to Target (Just choose one):

  • “Up!”
  • “More”
  • “Go!”

 

Exercise Ball

A lot of us have one of these rolling around the house. We got an exercise ball based on the advice of our birthing class teacher (And yes I did use it for early labor – on and off while I watched Gossip Girl for three hours straight in the middle of the night! I’ve never watched Gossip Girl before or since labor, but now I have a weird connection to that show!)

 

There are a few ways to use the exercise ball:

  1. Have your child lie on the ground and roll the ball up and down her body.
  2. Sit your child on top of the ball as you support her and bounce her up and down.
  3. Lay your child tummy-down on the ball and rock it back and forth.  You could pair this movement with “Row Row Row Your Boat”

RELATED: 12 Songs to Use for Language Development – Plus Free, Printable Song Choice Cards

First Word to Target (Just choose one):

  • “Ball”
  • “More”
  • “Go!”

 

using ring around the rosies in speech therapy

Ring-a-Round the Rosies

Do this 2-3 times to familiarize your child with the game and song. Then, once your child knows what is coming and is looking forward to falling down, use an Expectant Pause before you say, “down” and fall. That will give him the chance to say “down” so that he can get to the fun part!

 

Ring-a-Round the Rosies Lyrics:

Ring-a-round the rosies,
A pocket full of posies,
Ashes! Ashes!
We all fall down.

 

RELATED: 12 Songs to Use for Language Development – Plus Free, Printable Song Choice Cards

 

Using gross motor activities for speech therapy with toddlers

Swing

With the swing, I typically will stop it every 1-2 minutes and either ask, “Do you want more swing?” or “What should we do?”

 

First Word to Target (Just choose one):

  • Swing
  • “Whee!”
  • “More”
  • “Go!” (Parent can set-up by saying, “Ready, set . . .”)

 

Ride the Horsey

My grandpa used to do this one with me when I was little, and I still have fond memories of it! As you sit in a chair, have your child sit either on your knee or the top of your foot while your legs are crossed and bounce him around as you say the following:

 

Ride the horsey,

Ride the horsey.

Go to town.

Better watch out –

Don’t fall down!

 

Do this 2-3 times to familiarize your child with the game and chant. Then, once your child knows what is coming and is looking forward to the falling down part, use an Expectant Pause before you say, “down.” That will give her the chance to say “down” so that she can get to the fun part!

 

Using bubbles to get baby to say first word

Bubbles

Bubbles are a classic, stand-by for Speech-Language Pathologists during therapy with toddlers. They have a great way of being both calming and exciting at the same time! Blow a few sets of bubbles, then start using an Expectant Pause to see if you can get your child to request. My favorite bubbles are Fubbles – No Spill Bubbles – you can check them out on Amazon by clicking here.

 

First Word to Target (Just choose one):

  • “Bubble”
  • “pop”
  • “More”
  • “Go!” (Parent can set-up by saying, “Ready, set . . .”)

 

Bubble Expansion:

Bubbles are also perfect for working on combining two words as your child starts to talk more. You can ask, “Do you want a BIG bubble or LITTLE Bubbles?” and “Up high or down low?”

 

Hope you have fun with these activities and get those precious first words soon! Thanks for reading!

 

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