Games For 3 Year Olds
Develop Speech & Language Skills

This page has many great ideas and games for 3 year olds to develop their speech and language skills. Some games are appropriate for children as young as 2 years old.

There will be an immense growth in speech and language skills during this year. It is important and fun to help your little one learn!

Read here to learn how to talk to 2-3 year old.  Make the most of your time!

If you need toys to get your started, please read our recommended won't be disappointed! Also, there are some great language ideas there. 

What Your Toddler Will Learn This Year




  • Understands about 500 words
  • Follows 2 step directions, "get your shoes and put them on"
  • Understands simple concepts “big," "little," "in," out"
  • 75% intelligible to an unfamiliar listener
  • Uses about 200-300 words consistently
  • Speak with 3+ word phrases
  • Uses articles,“a” and”the”
  • Uses present progressive, -ing
  • Uses negative words, “no cookie”
  • P
  • B
  • M
  • N
  • H
  • W

Language Games: Talking 

Treasure Hunt

This is fun one that will encourage language use out of sheer excitement!

Ideas To Try:

  • Get out a bucket or a toy box and throw a bunch of toys in it. Close your eyes and go on a "treasure hunt."
  • If you have a sand box, bury toys in the sand and then go on a treasure hunt!
  • As you and your child pull toys out of the box, name them and say something about them. For example, if you pull out a doll...say "doll, I found the little doll!"


Blocks are a wonderful way to develop motor and cognitive skills, but it can help to develop language too! Old school blocks are the best and the cheapest.

Ideas To Try:

  • Name the pictures on the blocks
  • Talk concepts - big, little, up, down
  • Build castles, houses, farms, anything! Once your masterpiece is built, create stories out of your play animals and people. Click here for oral narrative tips for young children.

Check out our store for our favorite block toys.


Reading is one of the best ways to develop expressive language due to the illustrations and predictable text.

Ideas To Try:

  • Read a page in a book and then have your child read to you
  • Have your child name pictures and expand on anything your child says. For example, if your child says "cow," expand with "black and white cow." 
  • Ask your child to predict what might happen next.
  • Have your child "read" to you!

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Language Games: Listening

Red Light, Green Light

This game is great for listening skills and to get your child moving! Your 2-3 year old is starting to understand more concepts. One includes, "go" and "stop." 

How To Play:

Play a game outside where you take turns starting to run by saying "go" and then say "stop" to freeze. If your child's listening skills are more advanced give directions such as "jump up and down until I say stop."

Read, Read, Read!

Can I say this enough :)? Your child can sit longer for a book. Use that time wisely!

Ideas To Try

  • Ask your child to point to pictures as you read
  • Work on 2 step-directions - ask your child to point to a picture and then a second picture. For example, "Point to the dog and the house" or "Where is the boy and the car?"
  • Ask some comprehension questions "who" an "what" after reading a page.

Don't forget your free eBook!


Yes, organizing can be a game 3 year olds. This can be a popular one too! You can clean the house and work on 2-step directions at the same time. This one should be sprinkled throughout the day. Too much at once and you might lose your child's interests.

How To Play:

Ask you child to pick up two different objects and give them to you. Or tell your child, "get your shoes and put them by the door." 


This is another favorite of mine. Do laundry and work on language skills!

Ideas To Try (give directions)

  • Sort socks or shirts by size. All little socks go in one pile and all big socks go in another pile. 
  • Sort clothes by gender (girls vs boys)
  • Sort clothes by colors

Clean up, Clean Up

The clean up game can be fun with a little creativity!

How to Play:

The parent and the child take turns "being in charge." Whoever is in charge asks the other 1, 2, or 3 step direction. For example, "pick up the blue book and the green block and put it away." By taking turns being in charge, your child gets to practice listening skills as well as expressive language skills. 

**For more advanced children, start introducing some prepositions such as on, in, or under with your directions. 

We have even more listening games, check it out!

Speech Games For 3 Year Olds

For ideas on how to target specific speech sounds, click on the links below. These are the sounds your 3 year old should be able to say correctly soon. 






Want help with more speech sounds. We have extensive tutorials, flashcards, and functional games at Speech Talk Members Section. Check it out!

Want more language games for all areas of development?

We JUST finished our second eBook and are VERY excited about it! This book contains:

  • Introduction and review of developmental milestones
  • Games to teach colors
  • Vocabulary expansion techniques
  • Ideas for improving listening comprehension for following directions
  • Ways to encourage grammar development
  • Fun games to teach early developing language concepts

Learn more here. 

Bridget is an ASHA certified, practicing speech language pathologist. She is passionate about providing parents with information on child speech and language development as well as provide functional, easy activities to do at home! Parents have the power to make a real difference.

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› Games for 3 year olds