Skip to main content

Imaginary ball toss

What you need

A quiet room with minimal sound distractions and lots of energy.


  • Encourages bonding, communication, and imitation skills
  • Teaches about the structure of conversation
  • Supports articulation development (speech sounds)
  • Provides a language model
  • Encourages communication

The experience

Find a nice and quiet room with no distractions for this learning experience to take place. Pretend you are tossing an imaginary ball back and forth; each time one of you catches the ball, it’s your turn to talk. Your baby may not talk on his/her turn, but it is important to leave space for them anyway. You can ask them open-ended questions (e.g. “What are you going to say?” or “What do you see?”) to get the “ball” rolling.

Why not ask your child questions about the world around them and what they are experiencing (e.g. “what do you hear?”) and then pause to prime your child’s brain for the structure of conversation. They likely won’t respond at first, so you can model what they might say (e.g “The dog is barking!”) or model a sign. If you are using baby sign language, you could also model the sign for the word.