Toddlers are very busy people.  One of the things they enjoy is learning new words. You can help your toddler by playing word games with them.


  • Make the sound of a familiar animal.
  • Have your child tell you the name of the animal.


  • As you go about your daily activities, count out things for your child; such as –“One, two, you have two buttons on your sweater.”
  • You can also chant simple rhymes that use numbers, such as; “One, Two, Buckle My Shoe” or “One, Two, Three, look at me!”


  • When you start with color names, begin with only one or two colors.
  • Always stick with the main bright color for red, blue, green and yellow.  Don’t expect your toddler to recognize color variations.
  • I always found that dressing time was a good time for learning color recognition and color words.  “Look, your blue shirt is the same as your blue pants.  Today, you are wearing the color blue.  Can you say “blue”?” 
  • Later, you might ask, “What color are you wearing today?”

SIZE WORDS – Big & Little

  • Look for examples around your house for items that come in both large and small sizes.  Show the items to your child and ask him which one is small, or which one is big.
  • Example ideas; spoons, rocks, pumpkins, bears, books, shoes, etc.

SIZE WORDS – Long & Short

  • Set out a long candle and a short candle.  Ask your child which candle is long? Which candle is short.
  • You could also use ribbons, pieces of yarn or rope, lines drawn on paper.


  • Toddlers seem to have no problem learning the names of foods that they like.
  • Always say the name of foods as you feed your child.
  • You could also set out two items (say their names) and ask your child which item she would like to eat first.  Have her name the food she would like to eat first.


  • Toddlers love textures; especially things that are soft and fuzzy.
  • Try setting out a couple of toys that are soft.  Have him feel the toys on his cheek.  Say the word soft.
  • Set out a few more items that are hard, such as; a wooden block or a metal car.  Ask your child if these items are soft.  Tell them that these items are hard.
  • Now mix up the hard and the soft items.
  • Have your child select an item and tell you if it is hard or soft.


  • Here is a fun game to play while your child is in the bathtub.
  • As you scrub a part of the child, ask him to name the body part.
  • Or you could go backwards and say “Scrub-a-dub-dub, which part should I scrub?”
  • You child would respond with a body part to scrub.


  • Have your children sit in a circle on the floor.
  • Go around the group and place a small circle sticker on each child (each on a different body part).
  • Then point to a child and have them stand up and point to his sticker and say the name of that body part.

SIMON SAYS GAME – A Direction Game

  • Have your child or children stand for this game.
  • Give a simple direction, such as; “Simon Says – clap your hands.”  Everyone claps their hands.
  • Additional examples: Touch your head; Open your mouth; Stamp your feet; Wave your hand; Wiggle your nose.


  • Have your children sit in a circle on the floor.
  • Say, “I am rolling my ball to Mary”.  Roll ball to Mary.  Then stand behind a child and say, “Mary, roll the ball to Tommy”.  Mary rolls the ball to the child, behind which you are standing.
  • Continue the ball games as the children gradually begin to learn the name of each child.
  • When you feel the children know enough names, start the game by giving the ball to a child and ask her who she wants to roll the ball to. 
  • When that child gets the ball, then he/she will say who they will roll the ball to.
  • Continue the game while interest lasts.


  • Collect an assortment of small simple objects and place them in a bag.
  • Let your children take turns removing an item from the bag.
  • As each child removes an item, have him say the name of the object.
  • Play as long as interest lasts.


  • Cut simple pictures of objects from magazines.
  • Glue the pictures onto small index cards.
  • Place the cards up-side-down on a table.
  • Let your children take turns turning over a card and naming the objects.

Up until now, the games have all been about helping toddler learn words that are nouns.  In this game you will be encouraging your children to learn some new or review words that are verbs. 

  • Have your children sit in a circle on the floor.
  • Place in the center of the circle some simple objects (that you do something with).
  • Examples of objects:  Book, spoon, pancake turner, wash cloth, hair brush, etc.
  • Have children take turns choosing an object and saying what you do with it.
  • If the child does not know the answer, have the whole group respond. 
  • Repeat the action word each time so the children understand that the action word is the word you are looking for.