Oral Language Development Activities Using Story Grammar!

Oral language development activities that incorporate narrative structure learning. 

Knowing narrative structure is a functional skill that will improve oral language and receptive language abilities for your toddler. 

You can and should teach narrative structure early, even before 2 years of age! 

This crucial language skill will make a huge impact on academic success and personal development. The ability to tell stories, participate in conversation, and understand written text, depends on the understanding of narrative structure/story grammar.

For a quick review of story grammar, please review narrative structure basics.

These games are appropriate for children under 2-4 years of age! For older children, check out oral language development activities for ages 4+.

Oral Language Development: Activity

Lean how to play and work on narrative structure at the same time.

Play house or farm:

Little ones benefit from visuals when listening to or telling stories since they are just developing vocabulary.

That is why “house or farm” are great oral language development activities. 

How to Play:

“Set The Setting” by asking your child these questions:

  1. Who are you playing with?
  2. Where is the piggy?
  3. What time of day is it? Morning? Afternoon? Nighttime?

Create an Uh-Oh moment! Make a problem (plot) and ask these questions:

  1. “Look xyz happened”....oh no!
  2. How does your “character/toys” feel?

Attempts to solve the problem (plot):

  1. What should they do?
  2. Let’s try this....
  3. Let’s try this....it worked!


  1. Problem solved!
  2. What Happened?
  3. How do the characters feel?

First, ask your child these questions. 

Then model a story while you play. 

Check out the example script below for some ideas. Think out loud so your child learns how to “think”!

Example Script

Example Script (caregiver plays house and provides story):


  1. Molly is playing outside (who and where).
  2. It is daytime (when).


  • Uh-oh, Molly hears thunder and sees lightning. There are dark clouds coming in. It will rain! (problem).
  • Molly doesn’t have a raincoat, and she doesn’t want to get wet. She feels nervous. 

Attempts to Solve Problem:

  • Molly runs to the door to go inside... it’s locked! (try #1 to fix problem).
  • She tries the back door... it’s locked! (try #2 to fix problem).
  • Molly rings the doorbell and her mom opens the door.  (try #3 to fix problem).


  • Phew, Molly didn’t get wet. She is inside the house (ending).
  • She is happy (feeling).

Want More Details on Reading or Playing?

1. Reading: Check out our free eBook on how to best read to your toddler for more language development tips. 

2. Talking/Playing: Check out our eBook, Toddler Talk 2.0, to learn how to best talk to your child to help develop oral language skills.

3. Child Talking But Not Talking Enough? We got you covered! These games are not to be missed.

For more reading & language tips, check out our free Ebook

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How we read to children is so critical that I wrote a free eBook to share my tips and ideas with my readers. It gives in-depth strategies and much more!

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