Activities that Encourage Receptive Speech in Toddlers & Preschoolers

Receptive language is how a person understands speech and language. It’s an important piece for a developing toddler or preschooler. Here are some activities you can do with your child to help encourage and build receptive language.

Activities That Encourage Receptive Language in Toddlers & Preschoolers - #momlife #parenting #toddlers #preschoolers #speechtherapy - For the Love of Mom Blog -

Cleaning & Organizing

I know, I know, the words “cleaning” and “organizing” don’t exactly sound like fun but for toddlers and preschoolers who love to “help” they really are fun activities. Plus, there is a lot of room for growing in receptive language. When you are putting things away, engage your child in conversation about what the item is, what it does and where it belongs. You can “test” your child by misplacing an item.

I Spy

Playing I Spy is a great way to help your child visually connect with words.

Follow the Leader

Playing a game of follow the leader helps your child with understanding instructions, with a visual component.

Reading Books

Reading with your toddler or preschooler can help build receptive language. Have your child point to pictures in the book and name them and encourage her to predict what is going to happen next in the story.


Use pictures or flashcards to help your child learn order and sequence. For example, a picture of a child putting on socks, then shoes, then tying shoes. You can take pictures of your child doing an activity in sequence or you can buy some flashcards that show sequence.

Sensory Play

There’s lots of opportunity to encourage receptive speech with sensory play. Check out my Sensory Play board on Pinterest for some great ideas!

Simon Says

Following instructions is a major part of receptive language and Simon Says is a perfect way to practice following simple, one-part instructions which is the perfect first step for young children or those struggling with understanding speech.

Surprise Bag

Place some items in a bag and let your child reach in and pull it out. Talk about how the item feels, the color, what it’s used for, etc. For older children, you can have them guess what the item is before they pull the item out of the bag.

Thanks for reading Day 19 in the 31 Days of Kindergarten Readiness Series!

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About the Author

Hi! I'm Inez, the owner and content creator of For the Love of Mom, a website dedicated to helping moms thrive in motherhood by offering helpful advice, tips and resources.