Tongue Exercises For Speech and Speech Development

Tongue Exercises For Speech and Speech Development

Tongue Exercises For Clean And Clear Speech

Did you know that difficulties with enunciation can be caused by a lazy tongue? The tongue is a muscle and like any other muscles, it needs a regular workout which includes stretching and strengthening. A strong and flexible tongue also helps improve one’s ability to speak a second or third language clearly. For those of us that are interested in some simple tongue exercises for clean and clear speech, here are four easy ones to try out:
  1. Clockwise: Run your tongue in a full circle around the cheek walls across the front of your top and bottom teeth. Repeat 3 times.
  2. Counter-clockwise: Then change the direction of circling. Repeat 3 times.
  3. Go left and right: Run the tongue as rapidly as you can left and right across the upper teeth. Repeat 10 times.
  4. Stick it out: Stick the tongue out as far as you can, move it left and right, and then up and down. Repeat 3 times.

Exercises to help speech development

Improving Speech through Oral Motor Exercises and Stimulation. In order to produce speech sounds correctly, our mouth and tongue need to move in a certain way. This can be difficult for children with low muscle tone and/or coordination difficulties. Using the Cluas program we can stimulate the systems and mechanisms that are involved in creating good quality speech sounds. To complement this you can help your child strengthen their oral motor muscles through the following exercises. It is easiest if you get your child to imitate you doing the exercises. Be creative and enthusiastic and above all make it fun! 

Tongue Push-Ups

Objective: To strengthen the tongue.

Procedure: child holds half a grape or raisin, etc. on the upper ridge just behind their teeth (not on teeth) and pushes up with their tongue (for a few seconds, extending the time day on the day) – then the reward of eating the raisin!

Tongue Pops

Objective: To strengthen the tongue.

Procedure: Suck tongue up on the top of the mouth, pull it back and release it, making a popping sound.

Back and Forth

Objective: To increase oral-motor coordination.

Procedure: Stick out your tongue and move it from side-to-side, outside of the mouth making sure that the tongue does not touch the lips.


Objective: To increase oral stimulation and awareness.

Procedure: Using ice-pops, ice, etc. move over the lips from the middle outward and then ask the child to smile.


Objective: To increase tactile stimulation/awareness for the lips.

Procedure: Brush lips with different textures (i.e. toothbrush, cotton swab, tongue depressor, spoon)


Objective: To increase lip strength.

Procedure: Have child pucker lips and blow attempting to whistle.

Fish Mouth

Objective: To increase oral-motor strength.

Procedure: Pucker lips and suck cheeks in to make a "fish-face"

Say "Ah"

Objective: To increase the strength of the soft palate.

Procedure: While using a mirror child watches the soft palate move while saying "ah".


Objective: To increase soft palate strength.

Procedure: Use a straw to suck up liquids. Also, try holding a piece of paper at the end of a straw while sucking.


Objective: To increase tongue strength.

Procedure: Have child blow objects (small balls, feathers, cotton balls, tissues) or bubbles through a straw. 

Use a mirror to help you do these exercises. Practice 2 to 3 times a day for about 10 to 20 minutes. Try them all.
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