Activities to Encourage Speech and Language Development: Birth to Two Years Old

Compiled by: Lilya Popovetsky, MA SpEd, CAS, SDA

  • Encourage your baby to make vowel-like and consonant-vowel sounds such as “ma,” “da,” and “ba.”
  • Reinforce attempts by maintaining eye contact, responding with speech, and imitating vocalizations using different patterns and emphasis.
  • Imitate your baby’s laughter and facial expressions.
  • Teach your baby to imitate your actions, including clapping you hands, throwing kisses, and playing finger games such as pat-a-cake, peek-a-boo, and the itsy-bitsy-spider.
  • Talk as you bathe, feed, and dress your baby. Talk about what you are doing, where you are going, what you will do when you arrive, and who and what you will see.
  • Identify colors.
  • Count items.
  • Use gestures such as waving goodbye to help convey meaning.
  • Introduce animal sounds to associate a sound with meaning: “The doggie says woof-woof.”
  • Acknowledge the attempt to communicate.
  • Expand on single words your baby uses: “Here is Mama. Mama loves you. Where is baby? Here is baby.”
  • Read to you child. Sometimes “reading” is simply describing the pictures in a book without following the written words. Choose books that are sturdy and have large colorful pictures Ask your child, “What’s this?” and encourage naming and pointing to familiar objects.

Lilya Popovetsky, MA SpEd, CAS, SDA is the founder of A Multilingual Development Agency, an Early Intervention agency for children from birth to three years old in Nassau County, NY.She obtained a Master’s Degree from Columbia University’s Teacher’s College in Early Childhood Special Education, with a dual certification in General Education.Lilya went on to complete two educational administration degrees from Hofstra University.

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