9 ways to boost your toddler’s vocabulary in fun ways

July 04, 2017
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    Your toddler’s language skills really take off between 12 and 24 months.

    Here are nine easy strategies to help boost his vocabulary during this vital time.

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  • Explain names of body parts
    2 / 10 Explain names of body parts

    He is too young to learn how to say the names of, for instance, his feet, hands, eyes, ears or mouth, but he can start to learn the meanings of these words.

    As a game, point out one or two of his body parts, starting with “head”, then “nose”. He will steadily learn what these words mean.

    Related: This could be why your toddler is not talking yet

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  • Respond to gestures with words
    3 / 10 Respond to gestures with words

    By now, you know what he means when he points to the food cupboard – he wants something to eat. But don’t simply respond silently. Say to him: “I can see you want to have a snack.” This builds an association between gestures and words.

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  • Name objects and people
    4 / 10 Name objects and people

    Most of his words at this stage refer to these. You can help him, therefore, by naming objects that he sees. Use the word in a sentence.

    For instance, tell him: “Here is your blue towel.” He’ll pick the word that refers to the object.

    Related: 3-year-old not talking: should you worry?

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  • Play listening games
    5 / 10 Play listening games

    Make up your own games that involve him listening for sounds. For instance, ask him to sit quietly with you until he hears a bird sing.

    Or you can wait until you both hear a noise, then ask him to tell you what made that particular sound.


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  • React positively to each new word
    6 / 10 React positively to each new word

    A new word slips into his vocabulary without any warning. Show your excitement when you hear the addition to his word range. Your delight spurs him on and your approval boosts his enthusiasm for talking.

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  • Read him stories
    7 / 10 Read him stories

    There is clear evidence from research which proves that reading a story to your toddler for a few minutes each day will have a positive effect on his speech. It helps to let him see the book and the pages as you turn them. This allows him to see that reading follows a specific direction.

    Related: How to choose books for children

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  • Play with a toy telephone
    8 / 10 Play with a toy telephone

    He may have lots of imaginative conversations with his friends, relatives and even his plushies on his toy telephone. You can also pretend to talk to him on your own toy telephone to encourage his speech development and creativity.

    Related: 11 classic Fisher-Price toys from the 50s to 80s you can still buy today

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  • Encourage lip and tongue movements
    9 / 10 Encourage lip and tongue movements

    Wiggling his tongue, making strange sounds and blowing saliva bubbles are good for his speech development. Suggest that he blows bubbles into a drink using a straw, or that he makes the “b” sound repetitively. Lip games are fun and useful.

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  • Don’t correct words
    10 / 10 Don’t correct words

    Making mistakes is part of the learning process. Resist the temptation to tease your little chatterbox when he uses the wrong words, mispronounce them or have mix-ups in grammar. These will disappear spontaneously without any correction from you. If you try to correct him constantly, he may become reluctant to speak.

    (Photos: 123RF.com)

    Related: 3 signs that your child has a speech problem

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