Prep: 3 Minutes / Activity Time: 3-5 Minutes

Talking to your toddler and describing what you’re doing helps him learn the names of things, details of events that have happened, and how to talk about what will happen next. As you’ve explored the world together, he’s been listening and watching. Encourage your toddler’s growing independence by giving him a simple task to do. Helping out will give him a feeling of pleasure and power and is a great opportunity for him to describe what he’s doing.

  • toy shopping cart, basket or bin for putting things away
  • household items (e.g., sponge, duster)

Step 1: Plan to have some prop available to give to your child as you perform one of your daily tasks. For example, you might provide a sponge, dust rag or duster to wipe the table, a toy broom or toy vacuum to clean the floors, a laundry basket to sort clothes, a bin to put toys away, or a toy shopping cart to put groceries away.

Step 2: Describe what you need to do and encourage his participation. Talk about what you are giving him, what it's used for, and what you would like him to help you with. For example:

I have to put the groceries away. Come and help me! Look, here is your shopping cart, just like the one I used in the store. I will put the boxes in your cart. Please put them in this cabinet while I put the cans away.

Step 3: Encourage conversation by asking details of what you observe him doing. Praise all attempts at his helping you. For example:

What is that you are putting away? That’s your favorite cereal. Look how you carry that big box! Thank you! All the groceries are put away. You're a great helper!    

Step 4: Invite him to help you in other ways as you go through your day and evening.