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Playground Games to Encourage Speech Development

During nursery and primary school, speech is an important skill that children begin developing. There are lots of playground games that can encourage the development of speech and language.

The ability to speak and communicate with others is necessary when socialising with peers. Kids also need to be able to express their needs to adults, whether it’s in school or at home with parents.

The playground can be a great place for children to learn all kinds of skills. Language can be developed through a range of games that encourage communication. Check out some of our ideas for outdoor activities which support speech.

1. Storytelling Activities Outside

Telling stories is a great way of getting kids to use their imaginations. They can either read out loud from a book or make up their own stories and tell them to each other. These activities help improve confidence when speaking in front of other people.

School storytelling areas offer a fun environment where children can make up fairytales and read aloud together. This combines speech development with fun and makes for a relaxing activity for break time.

2. Starting Conversations

For a shy child, just getting involved in playground games can be difficult. Sometimes they can end up left alone and not being invited to play with the other children.

The ability to start up conversations is the first step to developing relationships with peers. If a child can initiate conversations, they can join in with activities and improve their language skills.

Here are a few conversation starters you could teach children to help them approach others:

  • Hello, what’s your name?
  • Do you want to play with me?
  • I like your…
  • What game are you playing?
  • This game looks fun

Having a few ideas and questions in mind makes it much easier to connect with their classmates. Visit Speech and Language Kids for more ideas similar to these.

3. Role-Playing Activities

There are many games involving role play that children can take part in on the playground. These can include making up scenarios which the kids have to act out. Doing this helps them practise speaking and asking for things in real-life locations. Different equipment and play features can be used to make the game more interactive.

One example of this would be setting up a pretend shop in the play area. A few children can be working on the shop counter, while others play as customers. They can write their own shopping list and communicate what they need to those working as shopkeepers.

Another piece of play equipment that kids could use is a mud kitchen. Some of the children could play as chefs while others are customers ordering which meal they would like.

These things allow children to develop their speaking skills and communicate needs with their peers. It also creates a fun way to make friends and interact with each other on the playground.

4. Learning How to Take Turns

For young children, the concept of sharing and taking turns is not always easy to grasp. However, it’s important to learn how to share toys with each other and make sure everyone gets and equal turn.

Having fluent speech makes sharing a lot easier during playtime. If a child wants to play with something, encourage them to ask, ‘Please can I have a turn?’ or, ‘Can I use that after you?’. Alternatively, if they are playing with something and another child would like to use it, suggest they offer it by saying, ‘Would you like a turn with this?’.

These are all ways to encourage kindness on the playground and teach children to be polite to one another. It also helps with developing language skills and the ability to communicate with others.

5. Speech Related Games

Some children struggle with stutters or other speech impediments. Playing games with simple sentences can help boost confidence. Asking a child to describe an object or give instructions is a great way for them to get used to short phrases.

A few games kids could play which involve this include:

  • Simon Says – A classic game where children can take turns giving instructions until the last person is out.
  • Guess Who – This is great for helping kids describe characteristics and ask questions to work out who their partner has chosen.
  • Pictionary – Can be played in pairs or teams, one child draws something and the others have to guess what it is.
  • I Spy – One child looks around the playground, chooses an object and says the first letter, the others then guess what they have chosen.

These all incorporate speech and language as well as being fun activities that everyone can get involved with. Most of these require little equipment as they are simply imaginative games that anyone can play.


Speech fluency and language skills are key parts of learning for children in nursery and primary school. There are plenty of playground games that encourage speech development in the early years.

Why not give some of these a go on your school play area to help promote communication skills. These can have many benefits for children who stutter or can’t quite manage to get their words out. Check out the rest of our site for more ideas on playground designs and games to help with various aspects of child development.

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