Playing, talking, and having fun with your child will help them to develop speech and language skills. Find inspiration here with a range of activities you can try. We have grouped activities by suggested age, but most activities can be enjoyed by all ages.


Even before they are born, your baby is developing connections between their brain cells and getting ready to learn about speech and language.

1. Sing to your baby bump

Your baby can hear sounds before they are born. Talking and singing to your baby can help them develop their speech and language skills when they arrive. Try singing a song to soothe your baby. Continuing singing when baby arrives can help them to move round less and pay more attention to you.

2. Get your family and friends to talk to your bump

When your baby hears their favourite people talking, their brain starts to develop speech processing skills that are important to help them become tiny talkers. Try getting family and friends to talk and sing to your bump, which will help them to learn the rhythm and pitch of your language.

0-6 months

At this early stage, your baby is learning to recognise faces and objects, and may take turns making noises with you. Concentrate on listening to sounds and looking at objects with your baby.

1. Talk about the things your baby focuses on

You might notice your baby focusing their attention on an object. This is a great opportunity to tell your baby what they are looking at. Focus together on the object and repeat the object’s name a few times.

2. Coo together!

Listen out for your baby making sounds and make their sounds back to them. This helps to teach them the rhythm of conversation. They may not be babbling yet but are likely to be making some sounds.

3. Peek-a-boo

Find a blanket and hold it between your face and baby. In an exciting tone, say “where has baby gone?”, using their name. Reveal your face after a few seconds saying “peek-a-boo!” or “there she is!”. Repeating this activity will get your baby excited to see you and start anticipating their feelings with words and sounds.

4. Tickle time

Singing repetitive songs is a great way to help your baby learn the rhythm of language. Try singing songs like ‘the wheels on the bus’, with actions for the words, or ‘walkies round the garden’, with tickles at the end of the song. Your baby will become familiar with the rhyme and start to giggle as they wait for the inevitable tickle!

6 months +

Babies at this age are becoming more active within their world and are starting to learn about people and objects.

1. Babble time

You might notice your baby making lots of little repeated sounds, called babbling. This is an early attempt to form words the way they have seen adults do. Show interest in their sounds and repeat them back to your baby.

2. Getting out and about

With a whole world of things to get their attention, getting out and about is a great way to introduce your baby to new sights and sounds. Follow your baby’s lead, naming and talking to them about all the things they focus on.

3. Picture Play

Start to introduce pictures into your baby’s playtime to help them make connections between words and objects. Try using a picture book to point out an object (like a star), then point them out again whenever you see them, such as on their clothes, toys or in other picture books.

4. Bath Time Fun

Have a splash around in the water at bath time, using toys or plastic cups. Repeat words such as ‘water’ and ‘splash’ and try pointing to and naming different body parts.

12 months +

Children at this age can often understand some familiar words and may be beginning to say several. They are learning that talking is useful and fun, and beginning to expand their vocabulary.

1. Twinkle Twinkle Little…

When playing with your child, sing and do the actions to their favourite nursery rhymes. When you are singing, leave a pause to see if your child can fill the missing word, such as “Twinkle Twinkle Little…” Their words might not yet be clear, but over time this will help them to learn new words and have fun singing.

2. Acting Masterclass

Playing simple games with your child’s favourite toys can help them practice their language skills. It gives them a chance to repeat the things you have said to them about everyday routines and activities. For example, practise putting a teddy to bed, saying words like “night night, Teddy”. Use lots of words for actions like “Teddy’s sleepy”, and pulling the covers over, saying “lets tuck Teddy in bed”.

3. Wash, wash, wash!

Some everyday activities like hand-washing are great opportunities to learn new words. Whilst helping your child to wash their hands, describe what you’re doing at every step, like “turn on the tap”, “pump the soap”, “wash”, and “dry”. Repeating these words will help your child learn.

18 months +

At this stage, your child might be starting to ask questions, form short sentences and understand simple instructions.

1. Action playing

Try collecting some of your child’s toys together, and ask your child to make their toys do specific things, like jumping, walking or flying. For example, “can you make Teddy jump?” See if your child can do the same action as their toy, and tell them what they are doing, like “you are jumping just like Teddy!”. Try adding new actions over time!

2. The great outdoors

The outdoors has lots of opportunities to help your child learn language skills. Next time you are in the garden, at the park or walking to the shop, talk about the things that your child focuses on. Try setting mini challenges, like finding different things such as stones, leaves or grass. Try describing the things they find, like “wow, that’s a big leaf”, or “that grass is very bumpy!”

3. Learning Languages

If you speak more than one language, or have family members that speak other languages, chatting in your family’s other languages is a great way for children to learn and to build relationships with family members. Your child’s brain can pick up the difference between languages and hearing multiple languages is not confusing to them.

4. Taking turns

Taking turns whilst playing and talking can help your child to learn communication skills. When playing together with a toy, try saying “my turn” and playing for a minute, then saying, “your turn” and passing the toy back. Get other children, friends and family members involved and practise taking turns playing and talking.

3 years +

At this age, your child might be using more descriptive language, asking lots more questions and using longer sentences. They may talk about things that happened in the past and the present.

1. Role Play

Try joining in with your child’s imaginary play. This can be anything from tea-parties with Teddy, or playing firefighters. Show your child new ideas, such has how a firefighter sprays water or how Teddy stirs tea. Use verbs or action words to describe what you and your child are doing, like “the firefighter sprays water everywhere and soaks everything!”, or “teddy sips her tea because it is very hot!”.

2. Memory Games

Describe a recent activity from everyday life, like yesterday’s walk in the park, or the trip to the supermarket. Take turns to remember things, like “what did we buy from the shop?”, or “we saw a big red bus near the park yesterday, what else did we see at the park”. Use lots of praise and help your child to expand sentences, like “and what colour was it?”, or “was it big or small?”.

3. What am I?

Try collecting objects from around the house and ask your child to close their eyes while you hide one behind your back. Describe the object to them until they guess what it is, for example “I am yellow, I am curved, I need to be peeled, I am a tasty snack” (a banana). Give as many clues as needed until your child guesses the object. Take turns and ask your child to put an object behind their back and describe it to you.

4. Weather Master

Ask your child to check what the weather is like and decide what they will wear outside. You can help by asking lots of questions like “is it wet enough to wear wellies?”, or “what did you wear last time it was sunny?”. This will help them expand their communication and understanding of how language can help them to plan.

4 years +

At this age, your child may be able to take turns in conversations, use more complicated language and longer sentences. They may use more question words like “why”, “how” or “when”, and may ask you about the meaning of words they don’t yet know.

1. Shopping Helper

Unpacking shopping bags is a great opportunity to chat with your child. Ask your child to name and describe each item you unpack and ask them where it is stored. Get them to help you put away the items, and ask them questions along the way, like “when do we eat cereal?”, or “what do we normally do with the cheese?”

2. Similar or Opposite

Find a few items from around the house, and let your child pick an item. Ask them to describe it, or use a word like “fluffy, shiny, small, heavy” to describe the item. Ask your child to find something similar around the house, like “can you find something else that is fluffy?”. Next see if your child can find something opposite. For example, “this is heavy, can you find something that is not heavy?”.

3. Word Sounds

Building your child’s understanding of word sounds is key to their development. Try asking them to think of rhyming words. For example, if you have just read a book about a tree, ask “can you think of a word that rhymes with tree?” You can also play games like I-spy, to get your child thinking about words beginning with a certain sound.

4. Make up a story

Making up stories is a great way to start a conversation with your child. Try using props like toys to bring your stories to life. Ask questions to encourage your child to explain their story, and help them along the way with suggestions about what happens next.

5. Treasure Hunt

Hide objects, healthy snacks, or toys around your house or garden and start a treasure hunt. Practise giving your child some instructions on where things are or how to start. Use lots of guidance like “try looking behind the chair”, or “have you tried looking next to the grass?”.