20 Must know English vocabulary words for a preschooler

by Manali Desai

Expert 03Take a look at 20 most important English vocabulary words every preschooler must know!

“The first word I learned to say was ..” is usually a good ice breaking sentence when getting to know a person or it is something you converse over when sharing your childhood experiences. It is also then that you realize how deep rooted your knowledge of words is and how soon you had started grasping the meaning of words. Your baby may not yet speak your language or fully understand what you’re saying to him, but rest assured about the fact that he’s a fast learner. Research shows that babies start listening to their parents’ voices while still in the womb. Once born, your baby begins tuning into your words and sentence patterns to figure out what you’re saying. He also uses his powers of observation to learn about some of the most complicated things – like love, trust, time, and so on.English vocabulary words 01

Now that we have established the fact that babies do indeed learn the meaning of words and language at a very quick pace, let us also realize the importance of teaching them the right kind of words. For instance, it may not be as important to teach him words like ‘washing machine’ or ‘refrigerator’ as it may be to teach him words like ‘wash’ and ‘eat’.

Today, we give you a list of 20 such words that are essential to be taught to a preschooler for his understanding and to develop his vocabulary in the right way. This list has been compiled with the help of the recent research led by Leslie Rescorla, Ph.D., a professor and clinician at Bryn Mawr College. This list comprises of the 20 most common words that toddlers should master.

1. Mommy:

This is usually the first word any child learns to speak. Just in case it doesn’t happen naturally, make sure he knows how to call you or otherwise all his needs will be unfulfilled. Jokes apart, learning what to call his birth giver is important as you (the mother) will be an essential part of the growing up process.

2. Daddy:

Just the way a father is as important in a child’s upbringing as a mother is, learning what to call him matters too. After all, it’s not always and for everything that a child will rely on his mother.English vocabulary words 02

3. Baby:

How would he refer to himself? ‘Child’, ‘toddler’, ‘baby’ are some nouns that could come in handy here as after mother and father, it is the baby which will complete the family vocabulary.

4. Milk:

This is something he/she will be consuming on a regular basis without a doubt. And chances are that he will be asking you what it is before you making him learn the word. If that happens, all’s well ! But if it doesn’t, don’t keep waiting. Make your toddler learn what he is having everyday!

5. Juice:

After milk, the most likely liquid being consumed on a regular basis by your toddler is juice. Why not teach him this too then? It’ll also enable him to ask for what he wants rather in case he doesn’t want milk and would like to have juice or vice-versa.English vocabulary words 03

6. Hello:

This is probably the most important word in the list for me because this is the word which will open up opportunities for conversations, big or small, with new people that your toddler will meet.

7. Bye-bye:

As important as opening the conversation is, it is equally important to teach your child to end it in the right way. So, include the farewell vocabulary word in your teachings too.


It is important for your toddler to show assent for something being asked or offered to him or her. And it’s not always gonna be feasible to rely on gestures and expressions.English vocabulary words 04

9. No:

Let’s not forget that if saying ‘yes’ means acceptance, ‘no’ means showing dislike or rejection. In today’s world, it is important for your child to learn the difference between good and bad, and hence it is also important to teach them how to say ‘no’.

10. Dog:

A dog is an animal your toddler is most likely to come across earliest in his life and even on a regular basis. Teach him what it’s called then!

11. Cat:

If you are teaching him the word dog, why leave out the nemesis? Cat, is another common animal too after all.

12. Ball:

A ball would most likely be your toddler’s first toy. So go ahead and tell him what his first toy is referred to as.English vocabulary words 05

13. Eye:

About the most important organ of the body is the eye, which enables vision. Teach him what makes him capable of seeing things.

14. Nose:

Another equally important body part is the nose. Tell him/her what makes them breathe and survive. It is this organ that they exist after all.

15. Banana/Apple:

The most common fruits your toddler will come across in the house or otherwise are these too. Let’s not forget that he will also be learning his English alphabet beginning with ‘A for apple. Why not prepare him then?

16. Cookie:

We have already covered milk, juice, and fruits. What else could be a common food item for a toddler? A cookie, of course!

17. Car:

Agreed that not all parents have cars, but there would be many in the neighborhood and on the roads. Better to teach them what the most common vehicular means is called, right?

18. Hot:

It could be the climate or the hot food. Both are important as one would teach them about the kind of weather and the other teaches them about taste.

19. Thank you:

If your child has learned how to accept things, he also needs to learn the right way to acknowledge this acceptance.

20. Bath:

If you are a cleanliness and hygiene freak, I am sure you understand the importance of teaching this word to your toddler. No explanations needed her I guess.

Hope this list helps you teach your toddler the correct words, their meanings. Rest assured that these are the top 20 priority words that need to be taught to a preschooler. So begin teaching them at the right time and build up their vocabulary!





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