Activities For a Late Talker

Below are simple ways to encourage a late talker to start talking. Check out these easy language "games" and some tips on how to talk to your child.  

The activities aren't complicated or expensive. The most important part is you, the parent! 

My child is also a late talker, I know how it feels!! To read about my experiences, thoughts, and here.

My Top 5 Words for a Late Talker

Top 15 "Play" Games To Encourage First Words

Below is a list of common first words and ideas on how to get your child to use them using common toys.

1. All gone: Say "all gone" after after eating, playing with blocks, putting toys away

2. Baby: Look at pictures in books, play with baby dolls

3. Book: Point to books, read books, put blocks on top of books

4. Bye-bye: Wave bye-bye to everyone and every animal you see, it even works with toys

5. Car: Move cars around the floor, make them go down ramps, push cars over books

6. Cookie: Say cookie while eating cookies, put cookies in a jar, count cookies, a doll eats cookies

7. Eat: This is an easy one! say eat while you eat a meal, before each bite

8. Uh – oh: Say “uh-oh” as you drop toys or knock over blocks

9. Shoe: Point to shoes, put shoes on dolls, put toys in shoes

10. Milk: Say milk while drinking, give pretend milk to stuffed animals, point to milk in fridge

11. Go:  Make ANYTHING go such as cars, blocks, you, animals, I like to start with ready….set….GO!!!

12. More: Say more when ever you have 2 of something; food, socks, books, laundry, grass

13. Shhh: Put animals, teddy bears, or dolls to sleep by covering them with a blanket and saying “shhh”

14. Bug: Dig for fake or real bugs in sand, point to bugs outside, make plastic bugs crawl around the house

15. Ball: Bounce balls, roll balls, throw balls – say ball before every turn

For more toy suggestions, browse our store.


Schedule reading time every day...before bed or after nap. This works on all milestones and is an excellent way to encourage a late talker to start talking!

Reading is a VERY important "game" for a late talker or really all children! You don't have to actually read the whole book. Instead, point to pictures, turn pages, name objects etc. 

Start asking your 2 year old to point to objects. Give an example first. Point to a dog and then ask your little one to point to a dog.  

Your main goal when reading isn't finishing the book but learning language. If you child wants to stay on one page, that is fine! If she wants to skip to the end, that is okay! 

Read here for more tips on how to read to your child. 

Body Part Game

How to Play: Name body parts while...

  • Changing diapers:. Tickle feet, belly, or nose
  • During bath time: name body parts as you wash them
  • Put stickers on body parts of favorite dolls and teddy bears – kids LOVE this one!
  • Sing "head, shoulders, knees, and toes"

Have your toddler point to body parts or name them as you go!

Meal Time Games

I love working on language development during meal times. What is more motivating and functional than eating for our little ones? What is easier for mommy and daddy? It is a win win!

How To Play: During meals where your toddler is eating more than one type of food, offer 2 choices before some bites and wait for a response.

Example: Your child is eating broccoli and chicken

  • Mom: Mom says "broccoli or chicken" as she holds both options in front of child and waits.
  • Child:  Child just stares at the food.
  • Mom: Mom says "broccoli or chicken" as she slowly shows each option.
  • Child: Child points to chicken
  • Mom: Mom gives her child the chicken as she says "chicken, you picked chicken, yummy!"

In this example, the child did not say chicken. However, if the child does repeat the food, give the food immediately  Soon, the child will learn that speaking is more efficient than pointing.

DO NOT TO FRUSTRATE YOUR CHILD BY WITHHOLDING FOOD UNTIL HE OR SHE SPEAKS. Instead, make it fun and do this "game" after every few bites or so. 

Want More Games? Want More Techniques? 

Our eBooks might be just what you have been looking for! You don't have to wait another day. You can start helping your child right now!

These language development eBooks are written by me, a speech language pathologist and they are written for you! Each book explains how to implement effective language techniques at home and then provides functional games that you and your child can start doing today! Click below for more info.

And don't can do this!

How To Talk To Your Child 

Believe it or not, you may be doing this wrong. How you talk to your child is crucial at this age. Read below to learn 2 easy techniques!

1. Use repeat-expand-repeat

Repeat : Repeat any word your child says during play time. 

  • Child says: "Car"
  • Parent responds: "Car"

Expand: Build on the word your toddler said. Keep it simple.

  • Child Says: "Car"
  • Parent expands: "Car go" or "fast car" or "red car go"

Repeat: If you child repeats your expansion, say it again!

  • Parent expands: "Car go"
  • Child repeats: "Car Go"
  • Parent repeats: "Yes, car go!"

The more you do it, the easier it will become. Click here for more tips on how to talk to your child.

2. Use 3 Strikes & You Still Win

This technique is fantastic for a child who is a "late talker."

  1. Say a word while holding an object near your mouth (this brings your toddlers' attention to your mouth so he can watch how you say a word) and wait for a response.
  2. If your child does not repeat the word, slowly bring the object toward him but still out of reach and say the word again. Wait for a response.
  3. If he still does not say it, bring the object to your child as you repeat the word for the 3rd time. Actually, give him the object this time. 

The most important thing you can do though is adjust HOW you talk to your child. Click here for more tips on how to talk to you late talker.

Language Milestones for 2 Year old 

Just for a quick refresher, review what is expected of a 2 year old. Sometimes we expect too little and sometimes we expect too much!

1- 1 1/2 Years

1 1/2 - 2 Years

  • Uses 3-20 words consistently
  • Imitates words
  • Points to some body parts
  • Follows simple directions
  • Understands “no”
  • Points to pictures in books
  • 60% intelligible to unfamiliar listeners
  • Understands about 300 words
  • Uses about 50 words
  • Vocabulary increases each month
  • Speaks with 2 word phrases, “more milk”
  • Starts asking simple, two word questions 
  • Gives a toy when prompted

Stay in Touch. Lots of Free Games Delivered to You!

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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