The use of the present progressive emerges by 3 years of age. For those who need a quick grammar refresher course, the present progressive is ~ing verbs such as "she is running," "he is jumping," or "he is sleeping."
What You Need: The attached picture cards: Present Progressive Cards
How To Play: Print the cards above or open them on a computer, tablet, or any other device.
If you printed the pictures, cut them out. If not, don't worry. First, describe one picture (.e., "he is running" or "the boy is running.") Ask your child to repeat. Do this a few times so your child learns what grammar structures you are looking for.
Next, show your child a picture and see if he/she can say the sentence without being prompt. For example, show your child a picture of a girl running. If your child says "girl" or "run," say "good job. Girl is running." Wait a few seconds to see if your child will repeat the correct grammatical structure. If your child doesn't repeat it, don't worry. Say the sentence again and move on. Don't force repetitions. It is not recommended at this age!
Other grammatical structures to target (once your child gets good at present progressive):
What You Need: A play house/farm and little people/animals. If you don't have a house or farm, don't worry. You can just use the little people/animals.
How To Play: While playing house/farm, have the little objects complete some actions. You, the parent, narrate these actions. At first, you may be doing most of the talking using the present progressive. However, your child is listening and that is a very important step.
After a few times playing house and listening to the present progressive, encourage your child to use the same grammatical structure. Your child may already be repeating your sentences. If this is the case, that's great! If your child is not repeating, ask your child to repeat your present progressive sentences. Ask one or two times max. Don't press it too much. It is not necessary.
The last step is to encourage your child to say the present progressive without any verbal models. To do this, play with your child. When your child describes the action of a little person such as "she sleeps," gently correct your child to yes "she is sleeping."
After many models of correct grammar, your child will get it. I promise!
What You Need: Nothing! Instead, think about where you need to be. I suggest playing in a park, going for a walk, or simply playing in the backyard.
How To Play: Throughout the day, you most likely talk to your child in the first person. You talk about what you are doing and what your child is doing. However, you are missing the third person! Exposing children to a variety of grammatical structures is important for grammar development. If your child doesn't hear it, how can he/she learn?
This activity is foolproof and you don't even have to think about it. While outside with your child, talk about what other people or animals are doing. For example, you could comment that "the squirrel is climbing the tree" or "the leaf is falling." If you are the park with other children, you might say "she is swinging, do you want to swing? "
By simply describing what you see outside, your child is exposed to lots of present progressive sentences and you don't really even have to think about it!