top of page


Playing with Toy Vehicles

Any activity that involves interacting, playing, talking and having fun with your child will help their speech and language development.

Involving them in your daily routine and chatting together is a great place to start.

For some inspiration, browse our activity ideas. If your child is working on a particular skill for their speech and language targets, have a look at the relevant section below.

Jump to

Early Interaction & Bonding


Tickle time

  • ​Sit with your child on your lap. Your child loves to be close to you and to feel your touch

  • Sing songs to you child such as ‘this little piggy’ or ‘round and round the garden’, as you sing gently uncurl your child’s finger and toes

  • As you repeat this activity your child will become familiar with the rhyme and will start to giggle and smile as they wait for the tickle at the end of the song. Singing repetitive songs is great for your child.

This little piggy

(gently touch your child’s big toe or thumb) say ‘This little piggy went to market’

(gently touch the next toe or finger) say ‘this little piggy stayed at home’

(gently touch the next toe or finger) say ‘this little piggy has roast beef’

(gently touch the next toe or finger) say ‘this little piggy had none’

(gently touch the little toe or finger) and say ‘but this little piggy went wheee wheee wheee all the way home’ (gently tickle their whole foot or hand)


Round and round the garden

(gently uncurl your child’s fingers, lightly draw a circle in their palm) say ‘Round and round the garden, like a teddy bear’

(move your fingers up your child’s arm) say ‘one step’

(move your fingers further up your child’s arm) say ‘two step’

Say ‘tickle under there’ (gently tickle under their chin)


Let's dance

​Use your phone, radio or CD player to put on your favourite songs.

  • Hold your child close and securely to your chest.

  • Gently move around and dance together in time with the rhythm of the music.

  • As you repeat this activity, you and your child will develop a strong bond that is not only important for your child’s development but is good for you too!


Preverbal skills


Eye contact


  • ​Use a blanket or other fabric.

  • Hold the blanket between your face and your child’s face

  • Say 'where's child’s name gone?’. Use an excited tone of voice.

  • Wait a few seconds, then reveal your face, saying 'peek-a-boo!' or 'there she is!'. Make sure you're smiling!

  • As you repeat this activity, your child will learn to anticipate your face appearing and get excited to see you.

Watch this activity at BBC Tiny Happy People


Mirror fun

  • Sit or lie your child in front of you so they can see your face.

  • Make funny faces such as licking your tongue in and out, making a smiley face, puffing out your cheeks, open your mouth wide, blow raspberries or kisses and see if your child can copy you.​

  • As you repeat this activity your child will be really interested in your face and will start to try to copy you.

  • You could even try doing this with a child safe mirror so your child can see their reflection.

  • These movements will help to exercise your child’s mouth muscles ready for talking. It’s a great mouth gym exercise! 


Turn taking

Giving and taking

  • Use a toy that your child is interested in.

  • Call your child’s name to get their attention.

  • ​Offer your child the toy so it is in easy reach of his hand. Let your child take it.

  • Let child play with the toy for a couple of minutes.

  • Hold out your hand and say 'my turn'.

  • When your child gives back the toy, say 'thank you' again. (Encourage your child to give the toy if needed.) Now you have a play for a couple of minutes.

  • Make noises or say words related to the toy, such as 'rattle, rattle, shake'.

  • You can keep going, taking turns, for as long as child wants!

Watch this activity at BBC Tiny Happy People


Shared attention

Hiding and finding a toy

  • ​This is similar to peek-a-boo, but this time you're hiding a toy.

  • Use a blanket to cover a favourite toy, e.g. teddy. You could also simply hide it behind your back.

  • Say 'where's teddy gone?' 

  • Wait a few seconds, then reveal the toy, saying 'there's teddy!'

Watch this activity at BBC Tiny Happy People

Explore more preverbal skills activity videos



​Pretend play

  • Play simple pretend play games with your child's favourite teddy or doll.​

  • Act out everyday routines with teddy such as bed time, feeding teddy, dressing teddy.

  • Talk to your child about what teddy is doing using simple sentences.

Watch this activity at BBC Tiny Happy People


Let's pretend more

  • Play with toys that encourage role play, such as teddy bear's tea party, a dolls house, car garage, animals.

  • Why not make a doll's house or car garage out of an old cardboard box? Get your child to help make and decorate it.

  • Talk about what your child is doing and what the toys are doing as you play.

  • When your child says something, repeat it back and add a word, e.g. your child says 'teddy's tea' you say 'teddy's drinking tea'.

Watch this activity at BBC Tiny Happy People


Role play

  • Join in pretend or imaginary play with your child.

  • It can be anything your child enjoys, from tea parties with dolls to playing doctors or firefighters.

  • Help your child by showing them new ideas for their play, such as how the doctor takes a temperature or how the firefighter sprays water.

  • Use verbs or action words to talk about what you and your child are doing, for example:

  • “the fireman sprays water and soaks everything!” or

  • “teddy’s just sipping his tea because it’s very hot” or

  • “you could use the thermometer to measure my temperature”

Watch this activity at BBC Tiny Happy People


Attention & Listening


It's super important to make sure you remove as many distractions as you can to help children learn to pay attention and listen. So turn off the TV, hide the tablet and tidy away the toys you won't be using!

Ready, steady, go

  • Use a ball or toy car to roll along. Say ready, steady go, then roll the toy.

  • Wait for your child to pay attention before rolling the toy.

  • As soon as they give their attention, roll the toy.

  • See if they can hold the toy and wait for you to say ‘ready steady go’ before rolling it back. They might need a bit of help with this at first, place your hands over theirs to help.

  • You can try this activity with running games too. Help your child to wait for go before running.

Watch this activity at BBC Tiny Happy People



  • Blow some bubbles to catch your child’s attention.

  • Pop them together and when they’re gone, say ‘all gone!’

  • Ask your child if they want more bubbles. Wait for them to look towards you before you blow more bubbles.

  • It might help to say ‘ready, steady…go’ to get their attention.

Language skills


Vocabulary building


What's in the bag

  • Collect a few objects and toys from round the house and put them in a bag or pillowcase.

  • Encourage your child to find an object from the bag.

  • Spend a few minutes playing with the object.

  • Talk about what it's called, what we do with it, how it feels.

  • Let your child hold and explore the object.

  • Repeat this with the rest of the objects in the bag.

Watch this activity at BBC Tiny Happy People


Fun at bath time​

  • Make bath time fun by splashing and pouring water.

  • You don't even need bath toys, you can use plastic cups or jugs.

  • Use words like 'splash', 'water', 'wash'.

  • Name your child's body parts as you point to them.

  • Encourage your child to point to their body parts with you.

Watch this activity at BBC Tiny Happy People


Post box fun

  • Make a post box by cutting a hole in a cardboard box. Involve your child in decorating it with stickers or coloured crayons.

  • Collect a range of everyday objects from around the house e.g. spoon, ball, sock, teddy, cup.

  • Offer your child two items saying 'shall we post teddy or post a sock?'

  • Let them choose and post the item in the box. Tell them the name of the item they chose again e.g. say 'sock in!'

  • Your child will enjoy posting and will be learning lots of words at the same time. 


Every day routines

  • Every day jobs can be fun for young children!

  • Involve your child in every day routines like washing up or putting clothes in the washing machine.

  • Chat with your child about what you're doing.

  • Use words like 'wash', 'scrub', clean', dry', mummy's socks', 'daddy's t-shirt'.

Watch this activity at BBC Tiny Happy People


Junk modelling

  • Getting creative with your child is a great way to develop language.

  • Collect some materials such as cardboard tubes, boxes, tin foil, egg boxes, plastic bottles.

  • Help your child to create a model using glue or sticky tape.

  • Follow their lead and encourage them to tell you what they are making.

  • Use describing words like 'sticky', 'round', 'straight' and action words like 'building', 'folding', 'gluing'.

Watch this activity at BBC Tiny Happy People

Doing the Dishes

Language skills continued...


Action words


Play with puppets

  • Use a sock to make a hand puppet or use your child’s favourite soft toys.

  • Use a funny voice to talk about what the puppet is doing.

  • Is he tickling? Hiding? Jumping?

Watch this activity at BBC Tiny Happy People


Ready for action

  • Collect some of your child’s favourite cuddly toys.

  • Ask your child to see if they can make their toy do some actions such as jumping, walking, running, flying.

  • See if your child can do the action like teddy and tell them what they are doing, ‘you are jumping like teddy’.

  • Repeating this activity and adding in new actions will really help your child, action words are really important for your child’s language development.


Encouraging words



  • Blow some bubbles and encourage your child to pop them.

  • Say words like 'pop', 'more bubbles', the bubbles are falling', 'all gone'.

  • Once they have all gone, pause and wait to see if your child asks for more. They might point or say a sound or word.

  • Then you say 'more bubbles?' and blow some more.

  • Keep repeating this and they will start to try and copy your words!

Watch this activity at BBC Tiny Happy People


Twinkle twinkle...

  • Sit with your child on the floor. Sing and do the actions to their favourite nursery rhymes.

  • When you are singing leave a pause to see if your child can fill in the missing words, such as ‘twinkle twinkle little...' Don’t worry if the words are not clear.

  • Try this with more lines in the songs and more nursery rhymes. This will help children to learn more words whilst having fun singing.

  • You can listen to nursery rhymes on our City Songbirds page.


Nature hunt

  • Go exploring the outdoors with you child, in the garden, at the park or a walk to the shop.

  • Talk about things that your child focuses on.

  • Set a mini challenge of finding different things outside such as leaves, stones, grids in the pavement.

  •  Describe the things you find, are they big, small, long, flat, bumpy?

Watch this activity at BBC Tiny Happy People

Language skills continued...


Concept and describing words

We're going on a measure hunt

  • Whilst out on a walk in the park, around the garden or on the way to the shop as you see if they can spot things that are ‘big’ and things that are ‘small’.

  • Talk about the things they see as you find them and compare what they see., ‘the car is big but the bus is even bigger’.

  • Your child will start to learn words that help them to describe and compare objects.


Hide and seek

  • Choose a few favourite toys and hide them around the house or garden.

  • Try and use a variety of hiding places such as on, under, in, behind, in front of and next to things.

  • Your child needs to try and find all the toys. As they find each one, ask them to describe where the toy was hidden.

  • Help your child to describe where the toy was if
    needed. Use words like ‘teddy was under the table’, ‘the car is behind the sofa’

  • Next, swap roles: they can have a turn at hiding their toys and you can look for them.

Watch this activity at BBC Tiny Happy People


What am I?

  • Collect 10 items from around the house, ask your child to close their eyes while you hide one of the objects behind your back.

  • Describe the object while your child guesses what it is, use clues such as, ‘I am long, I have bristles, I am used every morning and night, you hold me in your hand. What am I?’’ (a tooth brush).

  • Give as many clues as you need until your child guesses the object.

  • When your child guesses correctly it is then their turn to hide one of the objects behind their back and describe it to you.


Matching and opposites

  • Find a few objects or toys from round the house.

  • Let your child pick an object. Use a describing word for the object, such as fluffy, shiny, tiny, heavy.

  • See if your child can find something that matches, e.g. if it's fluffy, can they find something else around the house that is also fluffy.

  • Next, see if your child can find something opposite, e.g. if it's heavy, can they find something not heavy or light?

Watch an opposites activity at BBC Tiny Happy People


Semantic links – how words are related by meaning


What goes together?

  • Find some objects from around the house that are used together such as cup, juice, toothpaste, toothbrush, sock, shoe, hat, glove, butter, bread, child friendly knife, fork, pen, paper.

  • Mix the objects up and ask your child if they can find which objects go together.

  • Each time they find a pair ask them to say why the objects go together, encourage sentences such as 'the toothpaste and tooth brush go together because you use them to brush your teeth'.

  • Using words such as ‘and’ and ‘because’ will help your child to make longer and more complex sentences.


Moving language skills on


Story telling

  • Encourage your child to tell a story, it might help to have props such as teddies, dolls, puppets or action figures. 

  • Encourage them to tell you what happened. If they say a sentence wrong, say it back to them correctly. E.g. your child says 'he runned all the way', you say 'oh he ran all the way'

  • Ask your child what they think will happen next in the story. 

Watch this activity at BBC Tiny Happy People


Action replay

  • After your child has watched an episode of their favourite programme encourage them to tell you what has happened in the programme.

  • Prompt them to include who was in the programme, where the characters were, what happened and why it happened and how the characters were feeling.

  • Words such as who, where, what, why and how are really important for your child’s language development.

Explore more language skills activity videos
Child holding lego

Sound awareness & speech skills


Sounds in stories

  • Look at a book, comic or magazine with your child.

  • You can read it or just talk about the pictures.

  • Explore the sounds in the story, what noises do animals, vehicles or characters make?

  • What sounds do they begin with? E.g. tiger begins with 't'. Are there any other things in the picture beginning with 't'?

  • Are there any words that rhyme? E.g. fox rhymes with socks.

  • Talking about sounds and rhymes will help to develop important skills for reading. 

Watch this activity at BBC Tiny Happy People


Sound Hunt

  • Ask your child to pick a letter sound, such as p, t or s.

  • Play a game around the house to see how many things you can find that start with that sound, such a peg, pan, pen, pillow, paper.

  • Talk about what you have found and that they all start with the same letter sound.

  • As an extra challenge you could chose something that doesn’t start with that letter sounds to see if your child can spot the mistake, say ‘’here’s a door does that start with a p?’’

Explore more sound awareness and speech skills activity videos
bottom of page