Vocabulary development: boosting with books

Language Development: Expanding Vocabulary

There are several resources available on a daily basis which can be used to swiftly expand a toddler’s vocabulary and encourage a more talkative child.


Looking at photos together is a great way to help toddlers learn the names of friends and family. If they can’t say a name yet, see if they can point to the people you name. With older children you can use photos to talk about past events like birthdays and holidays.

Time to pretend

Between the age of 1 and 2, toddlers learn enough about how the world works to start imagining things and pretending. Pretend play encourages children to try out new ways of expressing themselves. Young toddlers may enjoy pretend tea parties or putting their teddy bear to bed, while older toddlers might be ready for more complicated imaginative play, dressing up as doctors, fire fighters or fairies. It’s helpful if you join in but try not to take over.

Vocabulary development: boosting with books

Helping around the house

Toddlers love helping with everyday chores around the house, an ideal opportunity to talk about everyday life. Let them partake in simple tasks like dusting,sweeping or packing away their toys. Talk about what they are doing while they are doing and why. Give praise every step of the way even if you have to do the job again later.

Rhymes and songs

Singing songs and nursery rhymes together is a fun way to help toddlers learn new words and phrases. It also gives them an awareness of rhyme, which is important pre reading skill. Toddlers will often want to sing the same song repetitively. Try to be patient as repetition is an important part of language development. Using cd’s you can give yourself a break for a while and can pass time on long drives.

Talking to others

Whenever you can, try to give toddlers the opporty to talk to other children and adults. Encourage family and friends to talk to your toddler, and let them talk back. You may need to ‘translate’ if their language isn’t clear, but they not to answer for them.

Talking and TV

TV can be useful for making links with books and getting toddlers interested in stories, but it will only help their language learning  if you use it as a starting point for conversations. Toddlers should only watch programmes designed for their age group and shouldn’t watch too much- they’ll benefit much more from playing and talking.

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