8 At-Home Activities to Improve Your Preschooler’s Communication

We’ve all experienced frustrating miscommunications, and this is especially difficult for preschool-aged kids. Imagine how your 3-year-old must feel when they can’t quite explain why they don’t want to share — frustration overload! While it’s developmentally normal for your preschooler to have a difficult time expressing themselves, you can help to improve your preschooler’s communication with these eight fun at-home activities.

1. Play Pass-the-Time Games

You know those old games you used to play on long road trips when you were a kid? Many of those are great tools for helping to improve your preschooler’s communication. Try these three the next time you’re in the car, eating lunch, or taking a walk.

  • Guess where we’re going/what we’re about to do: Give your child clues about the next thing you’re planning to do to help them piece together verbal information. For example, if you’re going to the movies after lunch, you could say, “We’ll eat popcorn, it will be dark, and we’ll watch a story on a screen. Where are we going?”
  • I Spy: The game I Spy is a great game for improving your preschooler’s communication because it encourages the use of descriptive words in relation to your environment.
  • Play 20 Questions: Another childhood favorite, 20 Questions requires  communication that involves reasoning, ruling things out, and the use of descriptive words.

    2. Increase Nonverbal Communication Skills

    So much of communication is actually nonverbal. You can help your child decode nonverbal cues with a few different activities.

  • Write or draw directions to somewhere in your neighborhood or home. Ask your child to follow them.
  • Silently give directions to somewhere in your neighborhood or home. Use hand gestures, pointing, and exaggerated facial expressions.
  • Look at pictures in books and make guesses about what someone is feeling, based on their facial expressions.
  • Try and do a cooperative activity together without talking. For example, run a relay race in your backyard, clean up the toys in the living room together, color a picture together, or play a sport in the backyard. The idea is that you’ll have to look to each other’s body language and facial expressions to determine next moves.

3. Play Telephone

Telephone helps your child develop good listening skills. With a group of people, sit in a circle and whisper a message to the person next to you. That person then whispers the message they heard to the next person, and so on. The final person shares the message out loud.

Undoubtedly, the final message will sound much different than it started out. The hilarity is what makes this game fun, but it also teaches a lesson — we have to pay close attention when communicating, or we have a hard time hearing the correct message.

4. Take a Nature Walk

Some of the best ways to improve your preschooler’s communication skills are in the simple, everyday connected activities.

Take a no-pressure nature walk and point out what you see. Ask your child what colors, animals, and plants they see. Point out letters and words on street signs. Collect nature items and talk about how they feel and smell.

5. Play Show-and-Tell

Kids love to describe their favorite toys and items. Ask your child to pick something and do a show-and-tell for the family. When they finish describing their item, ask questions about it. This not only helps build vocabulary, it’s another no-pressure way to increase confidence — which, in turn, improves your preschooler’s communication.

6. Play Pretend

Luckily, kids have a natural desire to play pretend — and luckily this is a simple way to improve communication skills. When children play pretend, they use  new vocabulary to describe their pretend situations. They problem-solve out loud, they cooperate with other playmates, and they use descriptive words to explain what’s going on.

{Read: Why Your Child Needs Pretend Play}

7. Play Charades

Sure, charades doesn’t rely on verbal communication. But it can still increase your preschooler’s communication skills by encouraging your child to think of non-verbal ways to get their point across. Remember, not all communication is verbal!

8. Tell a Story with Pictures

Give your child a few pictures and ask them to tell a story with them. You can clip pictures from a magazine, use family photos, or draw a few pictures. Put them in order, or let your child come up with their own order.

At UDA Creative Arts Preschool, we know how important communication is for your preschooler.  That’s why we provide a verbally-rich environment and curriculum. We are also always watching for markers of appropriately-developing language, and recommend intervention when those markers are not being met. Learn more about our curriculum. Call us at (801) 523-5930 for a tour.

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