Supporting speech development at home by engaging in fun, interactive activities can enhance a child's ability to express themselves and understand others. Here are some effective activities that caregivers can use to support speech development at home. 

A caregiver and child using speech practices at home.

1. Reading Aloud Together 

Reading aloud to your child is one of the most powerful ways to boost their speech development. Choose books that are engaging and appropriate for their age. As you read, emphasize different sounds, words, and rhythms, and encourage your child to repeat phrases, talk about the story, or answer questions about the story. Additionally, show your child how the words in a book match the images, and encourage them to interact with the illustrations by pointing at the visuals and asking questions about them. 

Tip: Use books with repetitive phrases and rhyming patterns to make it easier for your child to anticipate and participate in the reading. 

2. Singing Songs and Nursery Rhymes 

Because songs and nursery rhymes combine melody with language they make it easier for children to remember and reproduce sounds and words. Sing favorite songs together, use hand or body motions to accompany the lyrics, and  make up your own lyrics to the songs if you’re feeling creative (1). Adding instruments to your music time and placing them at eye level so that your child can easily see and hear them can add to the fun. 

3. Playing with Toys 

Interactive toys such as puppets, action figures, and dolls can prompt your child to create dialogues and practice conversational skills. Role-playing different scenarios with these toys can help children learn to express themselves and understand social cues. Even if your child is non-speaking, encouraging them to use their hands during playtime, to explore sensory toys during play, and to use toys to create or follow along with role-playing scenarios can help to build their language development and understanding.  

Tip: Create simple storylines and ask open-ended questions to encourage two-way conversations with your child. 

4. Engaging in Daily Conversations 

Make the most of everyday opportunities to talk with your child. Describe what you’re doing as you go about daily tasks, ask your child questions about their day, and encourage them to share their thoughts and feelings (2). 

5. Using Visual Supports 

Visual supports like picture cards, storyboards, and apps can help children understand and use language more effectively. These tools can be particularly beneficial for children who are nonspeaking or who have  autism or other developmental delays. 

Tip: Create a visual schedule to help your child understand daily routines and use picture cards to expand their vocabulary. 

6. Playing Word Games 

Word games such as "I Spy," "20 Questions," and rhyming games can make language learning fun. These games encourage children to think about words, their meanings, and how they sound (3). 

7. Give Your Child the Space they Need to Express Themselves 

At times, it may be tempting for caregivers to fill silences with their own speech, complete their child’s sentences, provide prompts for their child to respond to a question quickly, or answer questions on their child’s behalf if they fear that their child is taking too long to respond. Remember that some children may need more processing time than others in social situations. Allowing your child the space and time they need to respond, rather than rushing to help them, can assist them with their speech development skills.  

Supporting speech development at home doesn't have to be a daunting task. By incorporating these fun and engaging activities into your daily routine, you can create a rich language-learning environment that promotes communication and social skills. Remember, the key is to be patient, responsive, and encouraging as your child explores and develops their speech abilities. 


  1. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). (n.d.). Music and Language: How Do They Help Each Other? 

  2. The Hanen Centre. (n.d.). How Parents Can Support Early Language Development. 

  3. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD). (n.d.). Activities to Encourage Speech and Language Development.