Following Directions
Toddler Games

The active games listed below easily practice following directions. As a bonus, almost all children LOVE them. This makes learning much easier, doesn't it?


Language Milestones Targeted


Expressive Language

Receptive Language

  • Uses about 200-300 words consistently 
  • Uses words to get attention 
  • Understands 500 words 
  • Follows 2-step directions 
  • Knows simple concepts: big, little, in, out 
  • Understand contrasting concepts: up vs down 


Follow the Leader


What You Need:  Your Child and Yourself....That's It!

How To Play: The basic directions of "Follow the Leader" are quite simple. One person is the leader. The rest of the players are followers. The leader performs different actions and the followers must follow. If a follower doesn't imitate an action, he or she is out. The last person standing wins the game and then is the leader.

However, we are going to add a language twist! 

First, to practice directions with your child, the leader must say a direction out loud and perform the action at the same time. The followers have to perform the same action. By pairing the action with the words, your child has a visual to help learn what the directions mean. Once your child is able to follow directions at this level. Move on to the next level.

Second, the leader simply says a direction but does not do it! In this version, your child has to follow the direction by solely hearing it. This is the end goal after all!

Tips:

  • Have fun! Remember that is a game!
  • Start with one step directions and move up to 2 step directions.
  • Add some time concepts such as first and next for good practice.
  • Make sure your directions contain age appropriate vocabulary.
  • Take turns with your child being the leader. It will be good expressive language practice to have your child give directions!

Treasure Hunt


What You Need: Small Treasure (i.e., candy, ball, stickers, figurine)

How To Play: The directions to this game are also very simple. The "hider" hides the agreed upon treasure somewhere in the house. Once hidden, the "hider" gives directions to the "seeker" to help find the treasure. That's it!

My twist to help promote listening skills: When giving your child directions to find the treasure, add some "silly directions" into the mix that have nothing to do with finding the treasure but is good listening practice. For example, you might tell your child "touch you nose and jump up and down." Next, "walk to the couch and sit on it." Next, "stand up and touch the front door." Now, "spin around and then look under the door mat." "You found the stickers!" 

Tips:

  • Have fun! Remember that is a game!
  • Start with one step directions and move up to 2 step directions.
  • Add some time concepts such as first and next for good practice.
  • Make sure your directions contain age appropriate vocabulary.
  • Take turns with your child being the hider. It will be good expressive language practice to have your child give clues!

Clean Up


What You Need:  A Messy House (should not be difficult with a toddler in the house!)

How To Play: Clean the house! That' s it.

My twist to help promote listening skills: Take turns with your child being the parent. Kids usually LOVE this! The person who is being the parent gives the other players directions on what to clean up next. I suggest that when you, the parent, are being the parent, start with one step directions such as "pick up the train." When your child is ready, start giving 2 step directions such as "pick up a train and put it in the bucket." This is quite a functional game! 

Tips:

  • Have fun! Remember that is a game!
  • Start with one step directions and move up to 2 step directions.
  • Add some time concepts such as first and next for good practice.
  • Make sure your directions contain age appropriate vocabulary.
  • Take turns with your child being the parent. It will be good expressive language practice to have your child give directions!

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