Language Development Activities 
Ages 3-4

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 3-4

Expressive Language

  • Uses about 500 words 
  • Speaks with 4+ word phrases 
  • Talks about  events with a  simple story structure 
  • Uses regular past tense verbs 
  • Uses possessive –s: mommy’s keys 
  • Recognizes songs and can sing them

Receptive Language

  • Understands 900 words 
  • Knows colors 
  • Answers age appropriate yes/no questions 
  • Answers simple WH questions: who, what, where, what doing 

If you want a checklist to print and keep track of progress, please clink on the link: Toddler 3-4 Years Old Speech and Language Milestone Checklist

Toddler Language Learning Games: By Skill


Colors

By 3.5 years of age, a child should be able to identify and name colors. If not, there are simple ways to learn this skill throughout the day. The key to learning colors is to keep it natural.

To find your child’s baseline, see if your child can name or point to the colors below. 

If your child is having difficulty naming or pointing to any of the colors above, pick a game that your child may be interested in and give it a try! 

If your child already knows colors, the games below work on many different language skills besides colors. Therefore, you can still “play” them to reinforce colors as well as practice other language skills. 

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.

Printable Games:


Grammar Time

Some children don’t need to be directly taught grammar since they just pick it up by listening to others. However, some children need direct instruction as well as A LOT MORE EXPOSURE during structured play to learn grammar.

By 4 years of age, a child should be able to use regular past tense verbs and the possessive ‘s’ correctly in conversational speech.

Review:

  • Regular past tense verb form is a verb with an -ed ending such as walked, climbed, etc... 
  • Possessive S is a grammar form that show's possession of an object by adding an S to a person or animal.  For example: Mom's car, Dad's phone, Bobby's ball. 

Below are different games to practice these grammar skills. Drill practice is included to introduce the skill to your child and to get a large number of error-free learning reps. Complete the drill practice activity a few times. 

Once your child seems to be “getting it,” move on to the other games. They are more functional and will help to generalize progress into everyday speech!

Past Tense Verb Games:

Possessive S Games:


WH Questions

The ability to answer WH questions is a very important academic and social skill. However, this skill can be difficult for some children to learn. Some children need to be directly taught what each question is asking and then how to answer it. By four years of age, a child should be able to answer “who,” “what,” and “where” so this section covers.

How To Use Materials

Drill Practice:

To initially teach a child how to answer 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 WH questions, start to play one of the functional games. These games will help with generalization of progress made to conversational speech. 

WHO Materials

WHERE Materials

WHAT Materials


Story Structure

The VERY important skill of narrative/story structure begins around 3-4 years of age . This skill is crucial for writing, reading comprehension, expressive language abilities and social language skills. By 4 years of age, a child should be able to tell:

  • Who a story is about (characters)
  • Where it takes place (location)
  • What happens (event)

Read through all the ideas first and then pick one to try per day or over a few days. Once you discover which one gets the most language output from your child, try to do this activity EVERYDAY! It is a great way to bond with your child and work on story structure skills. 

Games:


Phonological Awareness

Phonological awareness is basically being aware of sounds in words and being able to manipulate those sounds. 

By 4 years of age, a child should be able to identify if words rhyme and even rhyme words.

Games:


Vocabulary Learning

I saved the best for last! Vocabulary learning!! This is one of the most important language skills since it is the foundation for both expressive and receptive language abilities and communication in general. Children sometimes create splinter skills in this department or don’t fully grasp what it is to learn a vocabulary word. Luckily, you are here and your child is going to start off on the right foot!

Function

Example:

  • What does ____(vocabulary word) do?
  • What do you do with _____(vocabulary word)?

Function Games:

Location

Example:

  • Where do you find flowers (vocabulary word)?
  • Where do you see flowers (vocabulary word)?

Location Games:

Association:

Association means identifying what goes with what best? This is an early developing language skill that is very important for learning, storing, retrieving and relating information together. 

Association Games


› Language 3-4