Let's Play: the speech and language way

Speech and language therapy ideas for playing at home



50 Simple phrases to use with Baby Shark

If you can’t stop the “Doo doo doo doo doo doo” in your head then why not at least use it to help your little one learn NEW words and phrases?!  Your little one already knows the tune and the motions, so use that to your advantage and just change the lyrics!

The “Baby Shark” song is so catchy and repetitive and repetitive and repetitive.  Kids love it!  If you have somehow missed the hysteria, here’s the video clip.

Use this simple melody to sing about daily routines, outings, behavior, playtime… ANYTHING!  Just slow down the pace and PAUSE before that last word so that your little one can try to fill it in… then dance around and “doo doo doo doo doo doo…”  Ha!

Of course any of the following objects or people could easily be changed out for whatever is more appropriate for that moment.  Also, you could squeeze in an extra syllable or two if necessary.

Here are just 50 common, simple 3-syllable phrases we may want to teach our little ones:

  1. I love you
  2. I want more
  3. Hello, Mom
  4. Bye bye, Dad
  5. I see you
  6. Peek-a-boo
  7. Wake up, Dad
  8. Put it on
  9. Turn it off
  10. It’s a dog
  11. Car is red
  12. Find the cat
  13. Stack up blocks
  14. I need help
  15. Where’s the ball?
  16. What is this?
  17. Who is that?
  18. Here you go
  19. Thank you, Mom
  20. Clean up toys
  21. Time for lunch
  22. Eat your peas
  23. I like cheese
  24. I’m all done
  25. Go upstairs
  26. Put on socks
  27. Hands to self
  28. Walking feet
  29. Inside voice
  30. Please sit down
  31. Let’s go out
  32. Get your shoes
  33. Buckle up
  34. Car goes fast
  35. Driving car
  36. I see trees
  37. Wave to her
  38. Stop sign red
  39. Green light go
  40. Grocery store
  41. Let’s buy bread
  42. Going home
  43. Dinner time
  44. Drink your milk
  45. Brush your teeth
  46. Fill the tub
  47. Pour it out
  48. Wash your feet
  49. Read a book
  50. Say good night

This is just 50… I could have easily made a list of several hundred, but you get the idea!

For more play-based ideas for helping your little one learn to talk, you may want to read: Help your toddler say “Thank You”Where’s the speech in speech therapy?, or Playing with… PUZZLES!

Need a printable version of THIS POST and some of the more popular blog posts to handout to others?  Go to: FREE Handouts you can print out

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Playing with…MUSIC and SINGING!

Being vocal, being LOUD, being quiet, moving your mouth… these are fun skills to practice both when singing and when learning to say words.  Whether you make up your own songs or sing along with your favorite tunes,  the repetition and rhythm of singing can be a great way for little ones to practice sounds, syllables, and words… even if they don’t always know what they are saying!

For a little one to sing along, the best music will have lots of repetition, few words, a simple rhythm, and easy or silly sounds – which is why kids love songs like Old MacDonald and The Wheels on the Bus.

Mother Goose Club is a great song collection to play in the car. 

You can also take the melody for any of these familiar tunes and make it even more meaningful.  For example, take the tune of “Row, row, row your boat” but instead of rowing your boat, you can eat your food:

“Eat, eat, eat your food… Put it in your tummy… Eat, eat, eat your food… It’s so nice and yummy”

Using your child’s name in any song may get their attention even more!

“(Name, Name) eat your food… Put it in your tummy… (Name, Name) eat your food… It’s so nice and yummy”

Some of my favorite kids’ music artists: Laurie Berkner, Jim Gill ,Raffi and BASHO and Friends.

In the toddler play classes that I teach, I use some of the music from Rachel Arnston, MS, CCC-SLP.  Her songs are wonderful for those who may be limited with words as she focuses on syllables, meaningful sounds, and songs for specific consonants and vowels.  I also recommend her songs for families with older siblings as they can sing along with the music and let their younger siblings fill in the easier sounds.  Her CDs also come with printable materials you can use to help engage your little one or give them something to hold or move while singing.

Whatever music or songs you choose, have fun with it!  Even if you aren’t a great singer (like me), chanting or talking with a rhythm or beat can have a similar effect.  Bonus points if you add marching, spinning, jumping, clapping, or even more elaborate dance moves!

Playing musical chairs may be a little too difficult for those under age 3, but FREEZE dancing is fun!  Run around the room, jump, wiggle, dance…whatever BUT when the music stops – we FREEZE.  It’s a good spin on any “ready, set, go” game or just getting your active toddler to understand the concept of NOT moving! Ha!

For more ideas about playing with songs and sounds, check out my previous posts:

50 Simple phrases to use with Baby Shark

Playing with…SOUNDS

Where are the WORDS?

Be sure to “like” and follow my Facebook page for all the latest play ideas posts and for information regarding my play classes, parent workshops, and in-home play sessions.

Disclosure: I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

Playing with…sounds

Most kids love music and love to make noise! Singing is a great way to play and also helps with activities like diaper changes, mealtimes, getting dressed, etc. Take the tune of “If You’re Happy and You Know It” and sing about putting your shoes on…

“Put your shoes on your feet on your feet
Put your shoes on your feet on your feet
Put your shoes on your feet, that will really be neat
Put your shoes on your feet on your feet”

Shaking, tapping, chiming, banging on musical instruments allows for plenty of imitation practice with various beats and simple rhythms.  Also, it naturally gives you the opportunity to announce “ready, set…” let your toddler fill-in “GO” and then lots of cheering and clapping when the song is finished!

Using instruments, or even just clapping your hands, can help little ones hear the “beats” or syllables of longer words like “FI-RE-TRUCK” and “BA-NA-NA”.

Using simple consonant and vowel sounds in play can also be lots of fun and help baby try to imitate speech sounds outside of words. Try some of these for consonants:

“mmm” when eating or thinking
“ttt” or “bbb” when tapping or banging drums
“rrr” for pirates and race cars
“ggg” when pretending to drink or put gas in a toy car

Don’t forget the vowels…
“EIEIO” in Old MacDonald song
“eeeoeeeo” for sirens
“wheeee” when sliding or pouring water

For lots more sound play ideas, check out:  Where are the WORDS?

For music to play in the car, check out: Playing with…MUSIC and SINGING!

Need some sound-making toys that DON’T require batteries?  Click on the images below:


Be sure to “like” and follow my Facebook page for all the latest play ideas and information about my play classes, parent workshops, and in-home play sessions.

Disclosure: I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

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