Activities for Receptive & Expressive Language

Written by cheryl starr
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Activities for Receptive & Expressive Language
As children combine songs with actions, they establish language use and meaning. (singing girl 1 image by Alexey Kuznetsov from

Activities for receptive and expressive language are intended to help establish language skills that promote a love for language, reading and communicating. Activities can vary from storytelling to music, depending upon the symptoms of the child and the diagnosis methods that are recommended. Everyday activities and play hold an important role in helping a child achieve success in language skills.

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Finger Plays

Finger plays allow children to combine songs, chants and body motions as they enjoy linking language and its meaning together with its use. Finger-play examples are, "The Itsy Bitsy Spider," "Mr. Sun" and "Where is Thumpkin" allow children to use repetitive words, which will help children that have receptive-language disorders or that have problems retelling a story or frequently grasping for the right word. Finger plays help those who have expressive-language disorder to practice saying words that they may be having problems pronouncing.


Storytelling is an activity that is vital to the growth of language skills for both the receptive- and expressive-language-challenged child. Storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to enhance oral-language development. Listening to stories helps children to understand the world around them, how they relate to it and how they fit in. The more the excited the storyteller is about the story, the more excited the children will be about the story. Choose stories that are full of action and that are predictable. Stories for receptive- and expressive-language-challenged children need to have repetitive phrases and predictable and interesting situations. The story needs to have a very clear message or moral that is not confusing. The storyteller should encourage interaction and should retell the same story many times.


Songs are available for almost every situation. Songs help children to enjoy language on a different level through music. There are songs about holidays, songs about cleaning up the classroom, songs about classroom transitions, songs about the weather and songs about the alphabet, to name a few. Songs help teach language concepts to receptive-language- and expressive-language-disorder individuals. Music provides a way for each individual child to express herself with language through song.

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