Image by: Mike Licht


Age Range
3-6 yrs
Setup Time
No set-up required!
Setup Location

Oral language development includes critical skills that let children (1) communicate — listen and respond when other people are talking, (2) understand the meaning of a large number of words and concepts that they hear or read, (3) obtain new information about things they want to learn about, and (4) express their own ideas and thoughts using specific language.

Oral language development is a critical foundation for reading, writing, and spelling, and it is the “engine” of learning and thinking. Research suggests that young children’s ability to use language and to listen to and understand the meaning of spoken and written words is related to their later literacy achievement in reading, writing and spelling.


  1. Describe what children are doing while they are doing it

  2. Talk with children during formal activities and in informal settings, such as snack, clean up, outdoor playtime

    For example, the care provider is helping a child mix the paints for finger painting. While the child is mixing, the teacher describes what the child is doing: “Now you’re putting the powder into the cup filled with water. I see how the water is turning the color of the powder. You’re stirring the mixture with the popsicle stick so that the water and powder mix. Good job!"

  3. Follow up with conversation about what children did during the activities.

  4. Ask engaging questions like; 'What did we do just now?' then follow up with a reply 'Mummy PUSHED you on the swing'

  5. For older children, ask them to recap a story that you read to them, while going through the illustrations in the book to support them with their articulation

Think about the “talk times” during the day. Caregivers spend a lot of time talking to and with children about rules and schedules. This is talking at children and should be limited. That leaves talking with children time, and a good place to start this is to talk about what the child is doing and things that interest the child. By basing conversations with children on activities and ideas that are of interest to the children themselves, caregivers can help children practice expressing ideas and requesting information through conversations throughout the day!

Disclaimer: This presents an overview of child development. It is important to keep in mind that the time frames presented are averages and some children may achieve various developmental milestones earlier or later than the average but still be within the normal range of development. This information is presented to help parents understand, at a high level, what to expect from their child. Any questions/concerns you may have about your child’s development should be shared with your doctor.