Expressive Language Games


Barrier Games

  • Put up a barrier between you and the child. Both of you have the same blocks. Tell each other what to do, so you end up with the same tower/ pattern, e.g., “Put the big green block on the long blue one.” If the child doesn’t give you enough information, you could ask questions e.g. “The big green brick, or the little green brick?”, or you could “get it wrong” so when the barrier comes down, the child sees they didn’t give enough information.
  • Put up a barrier again. This time, both of you have the same picture, and the same colours. Take it in turns to tell each other what to colour e.g., “Colour the big tree green.” At the end, the pictures should look the same.
  • Play a “Who am I?” game. Take it in turns to pretend to be a person (either famous or known to the family). The person pretending gives clues, and the other person can ask questions, e.g. “I’m a lady. I help children. I work at St Mary’s school.”- “Are you a teacher?” etc
  • Find an object and pass it round a group of people. Everyone has to say something about it, until you all run out of ideas, e.g., a trainer.

It’s the child’s shoe

It’s blue

It’s good for running

It’s got laces

It feels rough

The sole of the shoe is white

It’s got a zigzag pattern

etc etc


  • Secret Message Game - Aim: to help the child to understand that the listener needs to know a certain amount of information in order to understand what you are talking about.Get two sets of matching pictures, e.g., two red balls and two red apples.
  1. Take two pictures each, e.g., one of the ball and one of the apple.
  2. The player one chooses and holds one of the pictures so that player two can not see.
  3. Player one has to describe their picture without using its label so that player two can guess what it is (e.g. saying it’s colour, it’s shape, what you do with it, etc.) – i.e. unravel the secret message.


Sequencing Skills

  1. Draw a picture timetable for the morning and talk about it, e.g., first we’ll have assembly, then its circle time, next we’ll do some work, then its break.
  2. See if you can draw some other familiar sequences (there are sequences pictures also available on the Twinkl website), e.g., getting dressed, getting ready for school, having lunch, getting ready for bed etc. Cut out the pictures and encourage the child to put them in the right order.  Encourage the child to look at the whole picture and point out the clues in the picture.  Talk about why they go in that order.


Expanding Language

  1. When doing the above activities, give lots of language, e.g., what might happen, why they could be doing that, where do you think they are etc.
  2. Talk about pictures in storybooks.  Again, point out other things that Beth might not have noticed, e.g., it must be cold because she’s wearing a woolly hat or “I think that boy is happy because he is smiling” etc.