9 activities to work on children’s oral language

Isn’t it simply fascinating how children learn to talk?

The process starts from infancy, with cooing and babbling, then gradually evolves into full-fledged conversations. But, it’s not always plain sailing for every child.

Here’s the deal.

You may think that children naturally pick up language skills as they grow. But it’s not quite that simple. In fact, a lot of their oral language development depends on the activities they engage in and the interactions they have with others.

So, if you’re a parent or a teacher wondering “How can I help children enhance their oral language skills?” – you’re in the right place.

In this article, we’re going to explore nine activities that can significantly help children improve their oral language abilities.

Each child is unique and learns at their own pace. So don’t stress if progress seems slow. Patience, persistence, and consistency are key.

Stay with me as we delve into these effective strategies for boosting children’s oral language skills.

1) Storytelling sessions

There’s no denying the power of a good story.

Storytelling is one of the most effective ways to develop your child’s oral language skills. It’s a practice as old as humanity itself, and it plays a crucial role in language development.

Imagine this. With each tale you spin, your child learns new words, expressions, and sentence structures. They begin to understand the rhythm of language, the importance of context, and how to convey emotions through words.

But here’s the key – make it interactive. Encourage your child to participate in the storytelling process. Ask them to predict what happens next, or to retell the story in their own words.

This isn’t just listening to stories. It’s making your child a part of the story, engaging their imagination, and enhancing their communication skills.

You don’t need to be a master storyteller for this. Just let your creativity flow and enjoy the process. After all, it’s about making learning fun for your little one.

2) Implementing ‘word of the day’

Here’s a personal favorite that I’ve tried with my own kids – the ‘word of the day’.

The idea is simple. Each day, we pick a new word and try to use it in our conversations as much as possible. It could be a word they are struggling with, a new word they have just learned, or even a fun word that they find interesting.

I remember when my daughter was just getting to grips with language, our word of the day was ‘astonishing’. We found ways to incorporate it into our daily talk. “Isn’t it astonishing how tall that tree is?” or “How astonishing that your little brother managed to finish all his veggies today!”

By the end of the day, not only had she learned a new word, but she understood its context and how to use it in sentences. It made learning new words fun and interactive for her.

This ‘word of the day’ activity is a simple yet effective way to help expand your child’s vocabulary and improve their oral language skills.

3) Sing-along sessions

Music has a magical way of making learning more enjoyable. And when it comes to developing oral language skills in children, sing-along sessions can be a great tool.

Singing along to songs not only helps children learn new words, but it also improves their pronunciation and rhythm. They become more familiar with different sounds and how these sounds form words and sentences.

What’s more, did you know that the repetitive nature of songs helps children remember words and phrases better? This is because the brain is wired to recognize patterns, and songs are full of them.

So next time your child is humming to their favorite tune, join in. It’s a fun way to boost their oral language skills.

4) Picture descriptions

Pictures can speak a thousand words, and they can certainly help your child speak a few more too.

Using picture descriptions as an activity can be incredibly beneficial for enhancing your child’s oral language skills. Simply show your child an image and ask them to describe what they see.

This activity encourages them to use their vocabulary to express their thoughts and ideas. It stimulates their imagination and helps them learn how to structure sentences properly.

You could use anything from family photos, images from a storybook, or even random pictures from the internet. The key is to make it fun and interactive, and always encourage your child to express their thoughts freely.

5) Role-playing games

Role-playing is not just a fun way to pass time, but also a fantastic method to boost your child’s oral language.

By pretending to be someone else, whether a character from their favorite book or even a family member, children get the chance to use language in different contexts. They experiment with new words, phrases, and expressions that they wouldn’t normally use.

Role-playing games are also a safe space for children to make mistakes and learn from them. They get to practice and refine their oral language skills in an enjoyable and relaxed environment.

6) Reading together

There’s something truly special about curling up with your child and a good book. It’s more than just a bonding activity; it’s a chance to help them enhance their oral language skills.

When you read to your child, you expose them to rich and varied language. They hear new words, learn how sentences are structured, and understand how to express different emotions through words.

As you turn the pages together, encourage your child to read along, ask questions about the story, and share their thoughts. This interaction is crucial for their language development.

Reading together fosters a love for language in your child. It sparks their curiosity and fuels their desire to communicate effectively. More importantly, it shows them that language goes beyond speaking or reading, serving as a means to connect with others on a deeper level.

7) Encouraging questions

This one might test your patience sometimes, but trust me, it’s worth it. Encouraging your child to ask questions is a vital part of enhancing their oral language skills.

When kids ask questions, they’re not just seeking answers. They are learning how to communicate their curiosity, how to articulate their thoughts, and how to engage in meaningful conversations.

There was a phase when my youngest would ask ‘why’ after almost everything I said. It was exhausting, but it also made me realize how much he was learning. With every question, he was expanding his vocabulary, understanding sentence structure, and learning how to express his thoughts and ideas.

8) Embracing silence

It might seem odd, but sometimes, the best way to enhance your child’s oral language skills is by not saying anything at all.

Silence gives your child a chance to process their thoughts and formulate their responses. It encourages them to express themselves without relying on your prompts or cues.

When you allow moments of silence during your conversations, you’re teaching your child that it’s okay to take time to think before speaking. This improves their communication skills and fosters thoughtful and mindful conversations.

9) Language games

Who said learning can’t be fun? Language games are an excellent way to improve your child’s oral language skills without making it feel like a chore.

Games like ‘I spy’, ’20 questions’, or ‘charades’ not only bring laughter and joy but also encourage your child to use their words more effectively. They learn to describe objects, ask meaningful questions, and express their thoughts clearly.

These games also foster quick thinking and improve your child’s ability to articulate their thoughts under pressure. In the process, they learn new words, understand sentence structures, and get better at expressing themselves.

Go ahead, make time for play. After all, the best learning happens when you’re having fun.

Final thoughts: It’s all about connection

The intricate world of language development in children is often deeply intertwined with the bonds they share with their caregivers.

One key aspect of this bond is the power of communication. The way you talk, listen, and engage with your child can significantly influence their oral language skills.

Every story you share, every question you answer, and every word you speak becomes a part of your child’s linguistic journey. And it’s not just teaching them to speak correctly or expand their vocabulary. It’s helping them connect with the world around them through language.

Whether it’s a sing-along session at bedtime, a lively storytelling hour, or simply answering their endless queries, these interactions are more than just activities. They are stepping stones for your child’s communication skills, helping them interact better, express themselves freely, and understand others more effectively.

So the next time you’re engaged in a conversation with your child, remember – you’re not just talking. You’re building bridges of understanding, fostering connections, and shaping their ability to connect with the world. And that is a truly remarkable thing.

Tina Fey

Tina Fey

Tina Fey is a nomadic writer with a background in psychology, specializing in child development. Born and raised in diverse cultural settings, she developed a deep understanding of human behavior and the intricacies of parenting. Driven by her passion for helping others, Tina now contributes to Careful Parents, offering practical advice and insights drawn from her expertise and experiences. Through her articles, she aims to empower parents with effective strategies for nurturing healthy relationships and fostering their children's growth.

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