Child Language
What Questions

This page has 2 sections:

If this is your first time here, please read the introduction. It is necessary! If you have been here before, jump down to the games and download your copies!

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By four years of age, a child should be able to answer “what” questions correctly. 

Grammar Review: 

"what" questions ask about objects and actions.

  • What is this? A pencil
  • What is the girl doing? Riding her bike

This section is comprised of:

  • Drill Practice
  • Functional Grames

Drill Practice:

To initially teach a child how to answer “what” questions, begin with the flashcard activity. The visuals (pictures) on the cards combined with the decreased distractions of daily life are very beneficial. However, don’t spend too much time here, maybe just a day or two.

Functional Games:

After initially teaching how to answer “what” questions, start to play one of the functional games. These games will help with generalization of progress made to conversational speech. 

What Questions Games

1. Flash Card Teaching Phase

Needed Materials:

What Question Flashcards, What Doing Flashcards

How To Use Cards:

  1. Print the cards or pull them up on some sort of device (computer, tablet, iPad, etc…).
  2. Sit down at a table with your child and get out the cards.
  3. Ask the question “what is this” or “what is (person/animal) doing”and then answer your own question. Have your child repeat your answer. Do this for a few rounds so your child starts to learn how to answer what questions.   
  4. Once, your child has learned the pattern, ask him/her a question and wait for a response. If your child answers correctly, say good job and move on to the next card. If your child makes a mistake, correct the mistake and have him or her repeat it and then move on. 

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2. Play Time

What You Need: 

Any Toys

How To Play: 

Play with your child and ask “what” and “what doing” questions while you play. This may already be happening naturally. Adults tend to ask “what” questions quite frequently. If not, be aware of them and make sure to ask them!

Make sure to ask both “what” and “what doing” questions. 


  • If your child does not answer a “what” question correctly, model the correct response and ask your child to repeat it. Then, keep playing
  • Be careful not to make playtime into quiz time.

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3. Reading

What You Need:


How To Play:  

There are two different ways to play this game. The first way is the easiest.

  1. Sit down and read with your child. While reading, periodically point to pictures and say “what is this?” Wait for your child to answer. If he/she says the correct answer, great! If not, correct your child by saying the right answer and move on. 
  2. Once your child learns to answer “what” questions about objects, move on to “what doing” questions.  As you start reading, ask what the character is doing or about to do? Such as “what is George doing” and hopefully your child will respond with the correct answer such as “making a cake.” If not, say the correct answer and have your child repeat. 

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› What Questions


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