Supermarket Speech and Language Activities for Toddlers

Speech and language intervention doesn’t only have to occur in the therapy room, or even at home or school. Your local supermarket can be a great place to help your child’s language development along. Here are a few quick ideas for stimulating speech and language skills in your toddler.

grocery cart

  • You can help build your child’s vocabulary by:
    • naming items as you walk by them.
    • allowing your child to touch the items in your cart and talking about how they feel (cold, hard, soft, bumpy, smooth).
    • describing food in the store (color, size, shape).
    • asking your child to point out things that are a particular color.
  • You can help your child learn to participate in conversations by:
    • pausing often when you are naming the items in the store to give your child a chance to respond. This is the basis for taking turns in conversation.
    • encouraging your child to say please and thank you when you get a cookie from the bakery.
    • starting a conversation about products you find that go together (bread/butter, waffles/syrup).
  • You can help your child with pre-literacy skills (getting ready for reading and writing) by:
    • reading your shopping list and showing your child each word as you cross it out.
    • giving your child sturdy books to look at while sitting in the shopping cart.
    • talking about what you did first, next, and last when you were at the store.

Try a few of these ideas out the next time you and your toddler are at the grocery store. It can turn an everyday routine into a great learning experience.

Adapted from Dorothy P. Dougherty and Diane R. Paul’s 2007 book Talking on the Go: Everyday Activities to Enhance Speech and Language Development. Available from

One Response to Supermarket Speech and Language Activities for Toddlers

  1. Such great tips and things I can easily incorporate. Thanks!

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