Not Imitating at All

"Not Imitating At All" Has 2 Sections:

It includes a "how to" page as well as 2 different games. The game will depend on the language level of your child. 

If this is your first time, please read through the information on imitation techniques for a child who isn't able to imitate. It is necessary! If you have been here before, jump down to the games and download your copies!

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How To Encourage Imitation

Learning how to imitate is an important skill for learning language. For most children, this skill does not need to be directly taught. For some children, especially children who have language delays, imitation needs to be directly targeted.   

However, teaching your child how to imitate is not as easy as one would think. If a parent simply says “Say…,” a child may freeze up due to the pressure.

How to begin teaching imitation will depend on your child and their level of imitation abilities. Below are 2 games to help develop imitation skills. Each game includes a link for a printable game. 

The first game is for children who are not even babbling or talking. The second game is for children who are saying sounds or babbling to communicate. If you are not sure where to start, start with number 1.

1. Game For a Child Who Isn't Talking or Babbling (yet!)

Mealtime Game

If your child is not able to imitate, start imitating your child! If your child does not vocalize much, start by imitating facial expressions and/or sounds. For example, if your child smiles or yawns, you smile or yawn. If your child vocalizes with an “ah,” repeat the “ah.” Make it funny and praise your child for allowing you to imitate him or her.

Gestures to Imitate

Eating, Chewing, Picking up food, Feeding, Eating from a spoon

Words to Imitate (Start Easy)

Yummy, Mum Mum, Ahhh

How To Play

While eating, there are many gestures you can imitate such as eating from a spoon, chewing, or picking up food. As your child performs one of these tasks, imitate the gesture. Make it a little funny by being animated to get your child excited about it. At first, the goal is to have your child take turns with the same gesture. Once this happens, you can start to pair the gesture with a sound.


  • It may take many meals to get to this point. The key is to take the pressure off. Just model the speech and gestures instead of forcing your child to imitate.

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2. Game For a Child Who Has Started Babbling

Car Game

Words To Imitate

Any word your child already says

How To Play

Wait until your child says a sound. When he/ she does, repeat the sound. See if your child will repeat the sound after you.  Make it fun! It may take a few tries before your child jumps in.

Example Script In Car

The car is a great place to start. Since you, the parent, are driving and your child is in the backseat. There is no eye contact and A LOT of pressure is taken off! Wait until your child says a sound. When her or she does, repeat the sound. See if your child will repeat the sound after you.  

Tip: Try to move through the earlier developing consonants

  • Ba
  • Ga
  • Da
  • Ta
  • Ha
  • Pa
  • Wa

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› Not Imitating


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