Grammar Games For Toddlers

Grammar games for toddlers are NOT WORKSHEETS. They are NOT APPS. THEY ARE how we talk to our children while we play ANY game. 

Most children learn grammar just by existing! By playing, talking, and going about their lives, they just pick up grammar. However, SOME children just don't! Language doesn't come easy to them and that's okay. The only difference is that these children need to be directly taught these grammatical structures.

The BEST WAY to directly teach these children is through play and/or by adjusting how YOU to talk to them.

It's easy to do but you just need to know how!

Best "Grammar Talk" 

The best way to talk to your child is through varied conversation. When playing with toys,  the trick is to say sentences using the toys as the subject. You will naturally vary your grammar use. For example:

  • Thomas is driving the train
  • The bear is sleepy
  • The car fell down
  • Dora jumps off the bed
  • I built  tower

These sentences use a variety of subjects and verbs

What NOT to do

AVOID always directing you child or giving commands

  • Don’t do that. 
  • Come here. 
  • Put that down.

These sentences do not offer a variety of grammatical structures

AVOID always using self-talk or parrellel talk

  • I am cooking
  • You are coloring 
  • We are driving in the car

If we simply narrate our day ALL DAY LONG,  we don't use a variety of sentence structures. This means less exposure for our children!

****Self-talk and parallel talk IS RECOMMENDED at other times during the day to work on vocabulary. Just switch it up!****

Grammar Games!

Thanks for sticking we me! You just learned A LOT of helpful information!!!

1. Farm or any game with "people"

While you play with animals or people, use a variety of sentences.

For example:

  • The cow is walking
  • The chicken eats grass. 
  • The horse is sleeping in the barn
  • The goose fell down
  • I have 3 sheep
  • You are holding a farmer
  • Where does the farmer work?

2. Read

Reading is one of the best, if not THE best, grammar game or language activity for that matter.

You can introduce and reinforce many grammatical structures such as:

  • Verbs
  • Subjects
  • Pronouns (while having a visual - pictures)
  • Negatives
  • Really anything you want! 

Review how BEST to read to your child during grammar games here.

3. Out For A Walk

On a walk, preferably in a park where other people are present, talk about what everyone ELSE is doing, not just what you are doing. For example:

  • The girl is swinging
  • The squirrels jump from branch to branch
  • Where is the boy? The boy is climbing in the jungle gym 
  • The leaves fall from the tree

4. Toddler Talking 2.0

Some parents like specific games with instructions. Even printable! Well, if you are one of those parents, Toddler Talking 2.0 might be for you. This eBook focuses on:

  • Negatives (no,not)
  • Present Progressive (ing)
  • and much more including concepts, vocabulary and listening skills! 

Click: Toddler Talking 2.0 for more information!

5. Meals

I love working speech and language skills during meals for many reasons. Children are motivated since they are hungry, sitting still, and looking at your mouth. Also, eating is a main concern for a child. Therefore, vocabulary and language skills built around this functional activity will stick :)

How to work on grammar:

  1. Pick a grammtical structure such as verbs
  2. Then model this structure A LOT while eating with your child
  3. Encourage your child to repeat
  4. Praise any effort on your child's part

That's It!




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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. Follow Bridget at Facebook and Pinterest for more fun!

Author of  child language development eBook series



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Reference

  1. Fitzgerald et al. Are Some Parents' Interaction Styles Associated With Richer Grammatical Input? Am J Speech Lang Pathol.2013; 22: 476-488. Retrieved from http://ajslp.asha.org/cgi/reprint/22/3/476 on 8/1/2013.