3 Strikes and Win

Since children learn best while playing, most toddler language games will take place during playtime. This one is no exception!

Language Milestones Targeted

Expressive Language

Receptive Language

  • Uses 30-50 words consistently 
  • Imitates words easily 
  • Vocabulary increases each month 
  • Asks simple questions 
  • Follows simple directions 
  • Understands no 
  • Points to pictures in books 
  • Understands about 300 

Three Strikes and Win Playtime Game

What You Need:  A clear box with a lid is the most ideal. If you don't have this, placing desired toys out of reach will do. For this example, a farm and animals is necessary.

How To Play: During playtime, take out a few toys that your child may want to play with. Little people and animals works the best. However, if your child doesn't like to play house or farm, pick something he or she is motivated by. This is very important!

Start the game. For this example, I will play farm. Get on the floor with your child. Get out the farm and an animal or two. Place a few animals in a clear box so your child can see them but can't access them. Show your child the animals. Most likely, your child will point or grunt for an animal that he or she wants. Take the animal out of the box and say the name of the animal while holding the animal near your mouth. You do this so your child can see how to make the sounds your are saying. If your child still simply points to the animal, say the name again while you move the animal closer to your child but still out of reach. If your child repeats the animal here, give it! If he or she doesn't say it, say the animal one more time as you give it to your child.


  • If your child says the name of the desired object at any time, give the object immediately and praise your child! 
  • If your child is extremely frustrated and crying you may want to only do 2 tries instead of 3. 
  • Place objects near your mouth as you name them. Your child picks up a lot cues about words by looking at your mouth as you speak.
  • Wait time!! Make sure you give your child a few seconds, even up to 10 to repeat the word. Don't rush!

Farm Script:

Parent and child are playing on the floor with a farm. Farm animals are in a clear box with a lid securely fastened.

  • Parent: Let's get another animal. Parent shakes the box of animals.
  • Child: Grunts.Points to chick
  • Parent: Grabs the chick and says chick while holding the chick next to her mouth. Parent then waits 2-3 seconds for a response.
  • Child: No verbal response given, just keeps pointing
  • Parent: Parent says chick while offering the chick halfway and then waits 2-3 seconds for a response from the child.
  • Child: No verbal response. The child just whines and points to the chick.
  • Parent: The parents says chick for the third time as she gives the chick to the child. Parent then says, Good listening!

If your child, at any time, says the desired word, give the object immediately. This method models the desired vocabulary word and provides your child with the opportunity to repeat the word without frustrating him or her. If your child becomes frustrated after 2 models, give the object. 

› 3 Strikes Playtime


If you would like to cancel your subscription, you may do so at any time. Click the button below.