Language Development Activities 
Ages 2-3

This year if full of language growth, both receptively and expressively. With the games listed below, you can easily target your child’s speech and language development through daily interactions.

Speech & Language Development Milestones Chart
Ages 2-3

Expressive Language

  • Uses about 200-300 words consistently 
  • Speaks with 3+ word phrases 
  • Uses articles: a, the
  • Uses present progressive, -ing: running 
  • Uses negative words: no cookie 
  • Time concepts emerging: tomorrow 
  • Uses words to get attention 

Receptive Language

  • Understands 500 words 
  • Follows 2-step directions 
  • Knows simple concepts: big, little, in, out 
  • Understand contrasting concepts: up vs down 

If you want a checklist to print and keep track of progress, please clink on the link: Toddler 2-3 Years Old Speech and Language Milestone Checklist. 

Toddler Language Learning Games: By Skill


Vocabulary Expansion: Repeat-Expand-Repeat

By 3 years of age, a child should be using 200-300 words consistently. That is A LOT and can be overwhelming for parents who have a child who has an expressive language delay. My “repeat-expand-repeat” technique is very effective way of talking with a child to expand vocabulary and length of utterance (combining words together to make a sentence).

This technique can be used ALL DAY LONG when talking with a child.

How to perform Repeat-Expand-Repeat

  1. First, a child says a word.
  2. Next, a parent repeats their child’s utterance.
  3. Then, the PARENT expands on the utterance by adding one or two words to the original utterance.
  4. Next, the parent waits to see if their child will repeat the expanded phrase (5-10 seconds).
  5. Finally, whether the child repeats the phrase or not, the parent repeats the expanded phrase one more time to give the child more exposure to the grammar and vocabulary of the expanded utterance.

The repetition portion helps to build vocabulary, the expanding portion helps to lengthen utterances as well as build vocabulary, and the final repeat is just another verbal model. There is a lot of learning to be had with this simple technique!

Got it? Yes? No?  If not, don’t worry! Keep reading. You can practice this technique with the "game" below. 

Recommended Use:

  • Print out the activity
  • Place the activity in a frequented spot to help remind yourself to try it out for a few days. 
  • Jot down some notes on what seems to work and what does not.

Games


Following Directions

The best way to work on following directions with toddlers is to weave practice into play. 

Many directions contain tricky "direction" words (i.e., under, before, after) and are more than one step (i.e., first, second, next) and this can make following directions difficult. Toddlers are too young to be taught these words directly. Instead, it is better to practice these concepts during fun games. 

For example, let’s say you are playing blocks with your child. You say “knock your stack over first and then knock my stack over.” If your child knocks your stack over first say…. “Opps, you did mine first. Let’s try again.” Carry out the direction WITH your child as you knock down your stack FIRST while emphasizing the word “first.” 

Below there are three different activities. Read through the games and pick one your child may like to play. 

What’s Included:

  • Activities to develop following direction skills
  • Easily printable handouts
  • Space provided to make notes, ask questions, etc...

Recommended Use:

  • Pick an activity and print it out. 
  • Place the activity in a frequented spot to help remind yourself to try it out for a few days. 
  • Jot down some notes on what seems to work and what does not.

Games:


Concepts

Learning basic language concepts is very important for both receptive and expressive language growth. Understanding of language concepts are needed to follow directions, share ideas, understand tell stories, and more! The fantastic news is that these early developing language concepts can be directly taught through play. 

There are many ways to learn the concepts. It doesn't take any extra work. Instead, just be aware of the concepts as you go about your day. This will help generalize and solidify the skill! Below are three different games you can try this week!

What’s Included:

  • Activities to practice the concepts of “big” and “little”  and "up" and "down"
  • Easily printable handouts 
  • Space provided to make notes, ask questions, etc...

Recommended Use:

  • Pick an activity and print it out. 
  • Place the activity in a frequented spot to help remind yourself to try it out for a few days. 
  • Jot down some notes on what seems to work and what does not.

Note - Even if your child knows these concepts, play the games anyway! These games also expose your child to new vocabulary as well as practice following directions.  

Big & Little Games

Up & Down Games


Grammar Time

Your child will start to use some more complex grammatical structures this year. The grammar structures can be easily targeted during play or daily activities. For extra drill practice, I am attaching some flashcards. Occasionally, this is needed for learning grammar.

What’s Included:

  • Activities to practice negatives and present progressive verbs
  • Easily printable handouts
  • Space provided to make notes, ask questions, etc...

Recommended Use:

  • Pick an activity and print it out. 
  • Place the activity in a frequented spot to help remind yourself to try it out for a few days. 
  • Jot down some notes on what seems to work and what does not.

Negative Games

Present Progressive Games



› Language 2-3