Helping Your Child To Speak

Children learn to speak from their parents and siblings from a very young age. Language develops early and thrives during the pre-school and early infant age groups.

Below are recommended ‘Free Language Games’ to help your child to further develop his/her language skills.

Guess where I’m going
Think of a place and give three clues as to what you could do when you get there.
For example, if you are thinking of the Post Office, say:
‘I am going to a place and when I get there I will stand in the queue, buy a stamp and post a letter – where am I going?’

Here are some ideas of places that you might use in this game:
bank, supermarket, clothes shop, hairdresser/barber, dentist, doctor, garden centre, school, restaurant, cinema, zoo, bowling.

Let the children take turns giving three clues about places they are thinking of.

I packed my suitcase …

Pick what it is you are ‘going to pack’ in the suitcase, e.g. this time we are going to pack fruit.

One person starts the game by saying, ‘I packed my suitcase and I brought..’ and adds on an item at the end, e.g. ‘I packed my suitcase and I brought an apple.’.
The next player repeats the sentence and adds something else, e.g. ‘I packed my suitcase and I brought an apple and an orange’.

The next player repeats what the other two have said and adds on a third item. This keeps going until someone can’t remember the list.

First, Next, Last

  • Talk about daily routines, e.g. getting ready to go to school, going shopping in the supermarket, doing the laundry, filling and emptying the dishwasher, getting ready to go to bed, etc. Talk about what you do must do first, what you should do next and what is the last thing you do in the routine.
  • When stopped at traffic lights, talk about the colour of the car that is first in the line, the colour of the car that is next and the colour of the car that is last in the line.
  • When passing a row of houses, talk about the colour of the first house, the next house and the last
  • Before you leave to go to school, talk about what building you will pass first, what buildings you will pass nextand what is the last building that you will pass before you get to school.

Before / After
Pick a point in time and talk about what happens before and what happens after that point, e.g. what you do before and after you…
Get into bed
Go to school
Go out in the yard
Have dinner
Go shopping
Ask the children to tell you three things that they do before that point and three things they do after that point.

Put something into a room that should not be there.
For example, put the kettle in the bedroom, a pillow in the kitchen, a saucepan in the bathroom, soap in the sitting room, a plate in the hall etc.
See if anyone can spot the odd thing. Take turns at moving more things into odd places.

Blind man’s taste buds

Tie a scarf around each child’s head to make a blindfold. Have them taste a variety of foods and guess what they are. Examples; yogurt, custard, milk, apple, orange, banana, grapes, kiwi, tuna, tomato, peppers, cabbage, carrot, crackers, bread, rice, toast, ham, chicken.

 Visit a Garden Centre
Have a look at the plants, flowers, trees, fish, birds, rabbits, snakes.
Find out the answers to these questions;
What do fish eat? What do rabbits eat? What do snakes eat?


Go out into the garden on a frosty day.
Find a spider’s web.
Count how many you can find. Where did you find them? How do they move?
Dig up the earth to find some worms.
Count how many you can find. Where did you find them? How do they move?

Dressing Up
Let the children dress up in Mammy and Daddy’s clothes.
Talk about these words; big/small
Let each child pretend to be Mammy or Daddy and give instructions to the others.

Go into the Supermarket. Each child has to find 3 fruit and 3 vegetables, or same child has to find 3 new fruit/veg each time.
Look at the fruit and vegetables. Talk about the colour, shape, feel, size of them. Talk about what they would taste like.

Hide and Seek
Hide an object around the house.
Everyone takes turns to hide it and to find it. Talk about where you looked, where you found it. Use these words;
In, on, under, beside, behind, between, over, through, around.

Visit the playground.
Make a line. Each person takes turn at being the leader. Play follow the leader. Talk about where you are going/where you went.
Use these words; in, on, under, beside, behind, between, over, through, around.

 Watch the world go by!
Sit at bridge beside river, or on a bench and watch the transport going by. What can you see on the road?

Bicycle ?
Car ?
Truck ?
Bus ?
Van ?
Fire engine ?
Ambulance ?

What was your favourite?
Help do the laundry at home.
Tick as each part done during the day.

Dirty clothes in basket
Sort clothes into colours
Put dirty clothes into machine
Take out clean wet clothes
Put clean wet clothes on the line/in dryer
Take clean dry clothes out of dryer/off line
Iron clothes
Put them away

Torch Game
Turn off all the lights.
Shine a torch around and guess what the objects are that are lit up.
Make shadow shapes with your fingers behind the torch.

When you get petrol in the car, let each of the children help you.
Talk about these words; pump, nozzle, tank, and cap.
Let them come into the shop with you and pay for it.

Talk about what the weather is like today. Make a date/day/weather/ news chart for the wall. Let each child take turns in changing it daily so that they will be prepared for questions in school. Talk about what clothes they should wear.

Alphabet Treasure Hunt
Go in search of objects around the house beginning with certain letters of the alphabet. (Example: bbed, bath, broom, brush, book, box, banana, belt, bun, bread).
Pick a different letter for each child.

Visit the library and join if you are not already members. Let each child borrow a book from the children’s section. Read the story with each child. Talk about the names of the characters, what they did, how they felt, what might happen next.

Every 2 weeks, go to the library to change the books.
Train Station
Go to the train station, look around the station just before the train arrives. Show the children where these things are: platform, guard, whistle, engine, carriage, tickets, and waiting room.

Christmas Cards
Write a Christmas card to someone that the child knows.
Have each child sign their name. Put the card into the envelope. Lick and stick it. Write the address on the envelope. Take it to the post office. Buy a stamp and let them stick it on and post the letter. Talk about the postman’s job. What happens to the card after they post it?

Let each child open a Christmas card as they arrive in the post. Talk about the envelope, address, stamp, postman, letter box. Let each child decide where to put the card in the house.