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Fun and Engaging Summer Speech and Language Activities for Toddlers

Summer is a fantastic time to engage in fun activities that can also help support your child's speech and language development. For children aged 12 months to 3 years, every interaction is an opportunity to learn new words and develop communication skills. Here are some enjoyable and effective summer activities that can boost your child’s speech and language abilities, incorporating strategies used in speech therapy.

Outdoor Storytime

Reading to your child is one of the best ways to support language development. Take advantage of the warm weather by setting up an outdoor storytime. Find a shady spot in your backyard or at a local park, spread out a blanket, and bring along a selection of colorful, engaging books.

Interactive Reading

Choose books with bright pictures and simple, repetitive text. Point to the pictures as you read and name the objects. Ask your child to point to objects or repeat words after you. Encourage them to make animal sounds or mimic other noises from the story. This interactive approach not only makes reading fun but also reinforces vocabulary and comprehension.

Themed Story Sessions

Make storytime even more exciting by having themed sessions. For example, read books about animals and then take a walk to spot real animals or look at animal toys. You could have a storytime about the beach and then play with sand and water. Connecting the story to real-life experiences helps children understand and remember new words.

Nature Walks

Nature walks provide endless opportunities for speech and language development. As you explore different environments, you can introduce your child to a wide range of new vocabulary related to nature.

Vocabulary Building

Describe what you see, hear, and feel during the walk. Use descriptive words like “big tree,” “soft grass,” or “chirping bird.” Ask your child to repeat these words and encourage them to point out objects they recognize. This helps expand their vocabulary and enhances their observational skills.

Scavenger Hunts

Create a simple scavenger hunt with items that are easy for your child to find, like a leaf, a flower, or a rock. Give them a picture list to help them identify each item. As they find each object, say its name and talk about its characteristics. This activity not only makes the walk more engaging but also reinforces word recognition and categorization.

Water Play

Water play is a favorite summer activity for many children, and it offers great opportunities for language development. Set up a water table or a small pool in your backyard and let your child explore.

Descriptive Language

Introduce new words and phrases related to water play, such as “splash,” “pour,” “wet,” and “dry.” Describe your child’s actions and encourage them to do the same. For example, “You are pouring water into the cup” or “The water is splashing.” This helps them understand and use descriptive language.

Singing Songs

Sing songs and nursery rhymes that involve water, such as “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” or “Five Little Ducks.” Singing helps children learn rhythm and rhyme, which are important for speech development. Encourage your child to sing along and do the actions that go with the songs.

Creative Play

Creative play, such as arts and crafts or pretend play, is a wonderful way to support language development. It encourages children to use their imagination and express themselves.

Arts and Crafts

Set up a simple craft station with paper, crayons, stickers, and safe scissors. As your child creates, talk about what they are doing. Name the colors they are using and describe the shapes they are making. Ask open-ended questions like “What are you drawing?” or “Can you tell me about your picture?” This encourages them to articulate their thoughts and ideas.

Pretend Play

Engage in pretend play with your child using dolls, action figures, or play kitchen sets. Create simple scenarios like having a picnic or going to the grocery store. Use dialogue and role-play different characters. This type of play helps children practice conversational skills and use language in a social context.


Summer offers countless opportunities to engage in activities that support speech and language development in young children. By incorporating interactive reading, nature exploration, water play, and creative activities into your routine, you can help your child build their vocabulary and communication skills while having fun. Remember to be patient and encourage your child’s efforts, celebrating each new word and phrase they learn. Enjoy the summer and the special moments of growth it brings!


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