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Speech & Language tips related to "Transport"


Before children can say the words for different types of transport, they usually make the sounds associated with them. Early “words” for a car may be “beep beep” or “vroom vroom”, for example.  Follow your child’s individual interest in transport and you can help expand their vocabulary and enjoyment in sharing information about this topic. 

  • Fun activities to facilitate this are:
  • Talking about things that “go” on the road, tracks, water and in the air.
  • Taking a trip using a unfamiliar mode of transport, e.g. bus, train or ferry.
  • Visiting the airport.
  • Recounting past journeys taken.
  • Pointing out the individual features and parts of different types of transport, e.g. windscreen wipers, wheels, horn, lights, wings.
  • Making sounds (e.g. “toot toot”) and use gestures to describe cars, trains, buses etc. You could turn this into a guessing game.
  • Singing songs and nursery rhymes (e.g. The wheels on the bus, row row row your boat, Big red car).
  • Drawing and painting pictures of various types of transport.
  • Making a “box vehicle”: Use old boxes, tubes, foam,, paper plates, etc to build a car.
  • Role playing being passengers and drivers using old bus / train tickets, home made drivers licences, keys, and dress up clothes.
  • Creating a “road” with traffic lights for children to ride their bikes/ toy cars around.
  • Reading books e.g. “Maisie Drives the Bus” or “Thomas the Tank Engine” books.
  • Talking about travelling safely.
  • Planning a pretend trip or holiday, asking “What would they take with them to different destinations?”

Younger children may like to talk about the names of different forms of transport. Try imitating what your child says and add one or two words, e.g. “bus”-> “blue bus” or “Daddy car”-> “Daddy’s in the car”. If your child is using two words sentences, add a verb, e.g. “big car”-> “big car driving”. 

Older children may enjoy recounting a trip they took on a plane or ship, for example. Encourage them to talk about when they took the trip, where they went, who accompanied them, interesting events and any feelings they have about the trip. Encourage the use of descriptive language (including; size, colour, shape, parts, sounds, sensations). 

If you would like more information about speech and language development, or would like to discuss your child’s communication, feel free to contact me on 0417 255 062.

Speech & Language tips related to “Under the Sea”


When thinking about “Under the Sea”, try to consider everything about the sea that might interest your child e.g., sea creatures, plant life, shells, sand, water, boats, fishing, swimming. There are a wide variety of books and puzzles available that can help your child with learning the words for all aspects of sea life. You can pair these with fun activities at home to help your child build a good understanding and use of language to communicate what they learn about this topic.

Hands on activities help utilise all the senses for learning, so think about all the senses your child is using when learning about this topic - visual, tactile, movement, sound, smell and even taste! One such hands on activity that is easy to do is water play. It is usually a highly exciting activity for children of all ages. Here are some ideas for activities that you can do with your child that will help him or her learn and practice new sounds and words:

Speech sounds

Children love to practice new speech sounds through sound play e.g., mimicking animal noises. “Friction” sounds such as the /f/ and /sh/ in “fish” and /s/ in “sea” fit well with the topic of “Under the Sea”.

  • “sh” -  say “shhhhhh” when you turn on the tap to describe the sound the water makes whilst running into the bath / sink. Talk about things “splashing” in the water.
  • “p” – drop (“plop plop plop”) animal bath toys (e.g. fish, octopus, turtle, duck, boats) in the water.
  • “p” – add bubbles to the water and “ pop”  them or blow the bubbles off the bath toys.
  • “f” – play “find the fish” in the water.
  • “v” – make a “vvvvoom” sound for the boats in the water.


  • Borrow books from the library (fact/fiction) that are related to “Under the Sea” such as “Tiddler” (Julia Donaldson) or “The Snail and the Whale” (Julia Donaldson).
  • Name the sea animals and how they move (e.g., fish swims, crabs crawl). Using gestures for these animals can also help your child communicate with you about an animal before he or she can say the name of the animal.
  • Talk about the colours, shapes, textures, size of items related to the sea. You could do this whilst reading a book, finding shells at the beach, touching sea creatures “Touch Pool”  at an aquarium.
  • Ask your child to think of possible names for different sea creatures.
  • Craft – draw, paint, and create sea creatures of all sizes and colours.
  • Sing songs and rhymes.

Older children may like to listen out for the sounds in the names of sea creatures and attempt to write them. Also, they may enjoy picking out their favourite sea creature and learning facts about it that they can relay to others.

If you would like more information about speech and language development, or would like to discuss your child’s communication, feel free to contact me on 0417 255 062.

Speech & Language tips related to "Body Works"


Toddlers are fascinated by their bodies and many of their early words are related to body parts and what they can do. They enjoy pointing out their facial features, and progress to commenting on those same features in other people, toys and animals. Toddlers also have immense enthusiasm for doing everyday tasks, and can often be heard exclaim, "no, me / I do it!".  Some activities that help your toddler increase their understanding of the words related to their body and how it moves include:

  • Singing songs, while doing the actions (e.g. "head shoulders knees and toes", "this is the way we wash your hair...").
  • Talking about left / right. For example, when putting shoes & socks on your child, you could say "left foot / right foot", and give each foot a little squeeze or tickle to emphasise that it is the left or right foot.
  • Face painting gives you both an opportunity to talk about their face, animal faces, colours, how the paint feels, etc.
  • Looking in a mirror together, making funny faces or pointing to your facial features
  • Talking about what you are doing in your daily routines, e.g. brushing teeth, bathing, nappy changing, dressing (e.g. warm/cold weather clothes), toileting and mealtimes.
  • Talking about what they can do, e.g., jumping, clapping.
  • Encouraging them to do some things for themselves, e.g. putting their crocs on by themselves.

Older pre-schoolers also have a keen interest in "body works" and comment on their observations about themselves and others. They notice different features in other people, such as eye/ skin/ hair colour, and their languages. Pre-schoolers also ask a lot of questions about new things in their environment.

At pre-school, they will be learning about hygiene and healthy food choices. You can build on this at home by involving them in shopping, cooking and safe household duties (e.g. clearing their plate from the table or a tidy up blitz). While you are doing these activities, you could talk about the objects you are using, foods you are buying, and why.

When your child asks "What's this?" try encouraging him/ her to think about what they think it should be called. You can praise their great ideas and expand on them with more information.

Sharing books with toddlers and pre-schoolers is a very helpful way to talk about "body works". It is always helpful to follow your child's lead, chatting about whatever it is they are interested in. Following a child's lead, teaches them to be a leader.

Be creative! Language learning happens in everyday life, so you will have endless opportunities to talk with your child, building a strong communicative relationship for years to come.

If you would like more information about speech and language development, or would like to discuss your child's communication, feel free to contact me on 0417 255 062.

Speech & Language tips related to “Animals”


Some early “words” include animal sounds, e.g. “quack quack” or “woof woof”. Making animal noises and gesturing animal actions are all part of early language development. There are many types of animals that may interest your child, offering him or her numerous opportunities to practise their commenting and describing skills.

  • Some activities that you & your child can do to complement the theme of animals are:
  • Sound play - making animal sounds.
  • Act out animal movements and use gestures to indicate different animals.
  • Name animals and describe their features to enhance your child’s understanding.
  • Pair the name of the animal with a gesture and animal sound, especially for toddlers.
  • Dress up as favourite animals.
  • Talk about how animal characteristics, e.g. similar/ different, size, colour, shape, body parts, fur, stripes etc.
  • Ask questions, e.g., “what sound does a duck make?”, “A dog goes ...?”
  • Read stories about animals.
  • Match “baby” animals with their parents.
  • Name “baby” animals, e.g. calf, gosling, fawn, kitten.
  • Describe where animals live, e.g. farm animals, jungle animals, home (pets).
  • Sing songs and nursery rhymes related to animals.
  • Talk about how to care for an animal (e.g. feeding, etc).
  • Eat some of the foods different animals like e.g. bananas/ monkeys, lettuce/ rabbits.
  • Face painting of animal faces.
  • Draw pictures or craft activities.
  • Talk about any pets the children may have at home.
  • Visiting petting zoos, the zoo and aquarium’s are very exciting this can be a very positive learning experience for the family.

Older children may have particular animals that they like. Encourage them to learn as much as they can about their favourite animal, with your help. Support them when they are talking about their favourite animals, by adding descriptive language and praising them for their descriptions. Drawing a picture together can be a helpful way to convey what you understood from their descriptions. That is, they get to “see” how you interpret how they described an animal. 

Talking about animals gives you the opportunity to use specific language about animals and demonstrate plurals, including regular plurals (e.g. cats) and irregular plurals (e.g. sheep). 

If you would like more information about speech and language development, or would like to discuss your child’s communication, feel free to contact me on 0417 255 062.

Speech & Language tips related to “Family & Friends”

Parents Group

Below are some tips and activities that you can do with your child that will help him/ her communicate about themselves and their family.

  • Talk about what makes your child unique. Such as, the colour of their eyes and hair, what they can do (e.g. “you can jump!”), as well as the things that they like and don’t like. Label their emotions as they are experiencing them.
  • Model/ demonstrate words such as “me”, “I”, “you”, “he/ she”, “my”, “in”, “on”, and “next to” (e.g., “Jack is on the trampoline”). Encourage your child to use these words appropriately.
  • Encourage your child to name their relatives. They may not be able to say everyone’s name correctly, but praise all attempts and model how to say it. 
  • Talk about family members being sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
  • Create a photo album that includes photos of all your family members. If you can, label the photos with each person’s name as this helps with name/print recognition.
  • When you are looking at the photo album with your child, name family members, talk about what is happening in the photo and where they are. For example, “Look, it’s Pa!”, “Pa is swimming”, “Swimming at the beach”.
  • Talking about photos is a great way to show your child how to use the words “me” and “I” appropriately. You can model these words (e.g. “that’s me!”, “I am smiling”), and encourage them to do so too.
  • Provide genuine praise for all communication attempts!

Children have different communication abilities depending on their age and development. In general, by the age of two years, children are using words to communicate more than gesture and are able to name everyday objects and familiar people. They are beginning to combine words into short sentences. Three year olds have a larger vocabulary, speak in longer sentences and are understood by familiar adults. Four to five year olds are understood by most adults, ask many questions, recount past events and are exhibiting pre-literacy skills.

If you would like more information about speech and language development, or would like to discuss your child’s communication, feel free to contact me on 0417 255 062.

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Catherine Downs

Catherine Downs

Catherine Down is Platinum Pre School's preffered Speech Pathologist, she writes specifically tailored articles for the Platinum Newsletter and advises our staff on questions related to childhood speech development. Catherine is a Certified Practising Speech Pathologist (CPSP) with Speech Pathology Australia (SPA) and is an affiliate member of the American Speech - Language - Hearing Association (ASHA).

Catherine holds a BA in Psychology from the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) and a BAppSc of Speech Pathology from The University of Sydney. Catherine's qualifications and experience give her a unique set of skills for dealing with clients who are having communication, literacy and learning difficulties.

To find out more about Catherine's services or to book an appointment, please call Catherine on 0417 255 062 or visit her website -

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