Keeping young children engaged in highly-structured language-building tasks can be challenging, especially when the task requires them to be seated in one place. However, staying seated in one place is by no means a requirement to work on language. In fact, you’re much more likely to have success working on language if you incorporate the child’s interests and energy requirements!
Here’s a fun little activity you can easily do with a young early communicator who likes to move –
Throw a ball and have him throw/bring it back to you.
When he brings it back, say, “thank you for bringing me the ball! It’s a….BALL!”
Before you throw it again, you can say, “I’m going to throw the…(show him that you’re getting ready to throw it)..BALL!” Remember, the key is repeating the target word while drawing the child’s attention to the object the word represents. This will help them make the connection that “BALL” = round object that mom is throwing. Work on increasing the pause before the word “ball” to have him work on saying the word. Hold the ball next to your mouth so the child can watch how you create the sounds that make up the word “ball”.
Tip – Be animated each time you say the target word! Children are more likely to imitate words we are excited and animated about!
You can also extend the play by taking turns to go get the ball (work on “my turn/your turn”), hide the ball around the play space and every time the child finds it, you can work on a simple phrase such as, “you found it” or “you found the ball!”
I hope this simple movement-based activity helps you think of more fun ways to incorporate movement in your language-stimulation sessions!