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Sensory Boards for Language Development

As a Speech Pathologist, I look at the Montessori Sensory Boards and I’m overwhelmed with just how much amazing language can be developed through playing with them. 

Language development is highly dependent on motivation. It is also highly dependent on experiences. Language development most effectively through play and exploration of a child’s interests in their environment.

The sensory board engages children of all different ages and genders, but if you’ve got a toddler who could do with some more variety in their vocabulary, read on!

But first, in order for kids to store words accurately for the long term, we need to ensure we are repeating words lots of times. The sensory boards are perfectly designed to be repetitive and it is highly likely that you will lose interest before your child does. But, when you can, be present and add language to the experiences they are having. Don’t force your child to say the words you are saying, simply exposing them is enough for now. 

So, are you ready?

For a large Montessori Sensory Board, here is just some of the vocabulary you could add.

Switches: on, off, switch, up, down, light, wow

Tassel: soft, swing, sway

Tap/Door Handle: twist, left, right, on, off

Cogs: Around, spin, push, go

Wheels/Fidget Spinner: spin, around, wheel, more, fast, slow

Abacus: push, left, right, counting, spin

Hexagon mirror: see, look, gone, hello, peekaboo, pointy

Locks: open, shut, push, pull, lock, unlock, again

Door: open, shut, look, under, knob, hold, find

Bell: noisy, loud, quiet, ding, ring

You may find that your child is very quiet when they are concentrating on a task that requires them to problem solve. But add language as much as you can, especially if they are really interested and doing a task over and over again. Even saying the same word over and over, 100 times or more, is amazingly powerful for their brain’s ability to store that word for later use.

There are also some obvious vocabulary groups that you could develop, which are counting and colours, but I’ve probably missed lots more words, what vocabulary do you see when you look at the board?


Alex Trichilo

Speech Pathologist and Mum of three Instagram: Facebook: