WH Questions Speech Therapy: A Comprehensive List 

wh questions for speech therapy

WH questions are open ended questions that people ask to gain information or participate in a conversational exchange. WH questions are those questions which start with WH words and include Who, What, Where, When, Why, Which, and How. Learning how to ask and answer WH questions is an important component of language development and allows people to more effectively communicate their wants and needs, learn and understand, and engage in conversation. WH questions are a common goal in speech therapy.

If your child is having difficulty answering WH questions, it can be tricky to know where to start. However, this resource is a great place to start! Here, you will be able to learn about the different types of WH questions and developmental milestones as well as different games and activities you can practice with your child. 

Types of WH Questions

WH questions can usually be thought of as open-ended questions. That is, questions that cannot be answered with “yes” or “no” responses. There are several different types of WH questions. The 5 main types are: Who, What, Where, When, and Why. Additionally, Which and How questions are often included as well. 


Who questions are questions that ask about people or characters (such as animal characters in a book). Who questions for speech therapy may be asked as recall questions about specific information such as “Who did you meet at the party?” or about personal information like “Who lives at home with you?”.


What questions are used to ask about something. What questions (think: “what’s this?”) are usually the first questions a child will be able to answer. What questions for speech therapy are often used to ask about a specific object or action such as “What color is her dress?” or “What is he doing?”.


This type of question is used to ask about a specific location. This could include less specific locations like “at home” or “at school” or more specific locations such as “under the couch” or “in the fridge.” Where questions for speech therapy are usually first asked with very concrete answers, such as “Where does a cow live?” before progressing to questions where the answer is not always the same. Where questions may be harder for some children who have difficulty understanding spatial concepts, including “in, out, behind, in front, etc.”


When questions are questions that ask about time. Answers to When questions may be less specific such as “during the day” or “at night”, “today” or “tomorrow”, about specific days or holidays, or more specific such as “at 4:00” or “Sunday at noon”. When questions for speech therapy often start with simpler questions such as “When do you sleep?” or “When do you eat breakfast?” before moving to more difficult questions.


These questions are questions that ask for a reason. Why questions for speech therapy are important because they often require inference or critical thinking instead of simple recall. That also means these questions are often harder for children with language disorders and may require more support. Some examples of Why questions are “Why did you take your shoes off?” or “Why did the girl go to the store?”.


Which questions are used to ask about choices. Sometimes the choices are given with the questions, but sometimes the choices are implied. For example, you may ask “Which flavor of ice cream do you want?” for an older child, but for a younger child you may follow up with 2 or 3 choices as well. 


The final type of WH question, how questions, are used to ask about the manner, condition, or quality of something. Sometimes they may be used to ask for an explanation such as “How did you do that?” or “How did the dog find the bone?”. They may also ask for a number “How many…?” or size “How big…?”

120+ WH Questions

Below, you will find a comprehensive list of WH questions for speech therapy, separated by type. This list may be helpful for you when you are practicing WH questions in speech therapy or at home, and many of the questions can be used across multiple activities. 


  • Who is the story about?
  • Who said…?
  • Who wants to come with me?
  • Who did you see there?
  • Who do you see when you’re sick?
  • Who was running?
  • Who did you play with today?
  • Who do you like?
  • Who said that?
  • Who wrote the book?
  • Who takes care of sick animals?
  • Who drinks from a bottle?
  • Who drives a police car?
  • Who goes to school?
  • Who paints pictures?
  • Who takes care of your teeth?
  • Who lives with you at home?
  • Who makes your bed?
  • Who cooks your food?
  • Who reads you books?


  • What is your favorite color?
  • What is your favorite animal?
  • What do you like to eat?
  • What did/do you hear?
  • What did/do you see?
  • What do cats eat?
  • What do bees make?
  • What swims in the ocean?
  • What animal lives on a farm?
  • What did you eat for breakfast/lunch/dinner?
  • What did you play with today?
  • What do you use to call someone?
  • What color is the grass?
  • What is on your shirt?
  • What tells time?
  • What do you sleep in?
  • What do you drive?
  • What do you like to drink?
  • What do you wear on your feet?
  • What do you want to play?


  • Where do you live?
  • Where did the toy go?
  • Where do you sleep?
  • Where do you buy food?
  • Where does a bird live?
  • Where did you go today?
  • Where do you cook food?
  • Where do you wash your hands?
  • Where do you go when you’re sick?
  • Where does the toy go?
  • Where do you go to learn?
  • Where are the clouds?
  • Where does ice cream go?
  • Where does mommy/daddy/caregiver work?
  • Where do you go to swim?
  • Where do you wash clothes?
  • Where do you get water?
  • Where do chickens live?
  • Where do you throw things away?
  • Where do you see swings and slides?


  • When did you wake up?
  • When do you want to leave?
  • When do you eat breakfast/lunch/dinner?
  • When do you go to sleep?
  • When is your birthday?
  • When is Halloween?
  • When is Christmas?
  • When do you brush your teeth?
  • When do you take a bath?
  • When do leaves fall from trees?
  • When do you go to school?
  • When does it snow?
  • When do you see the stars?
  • When did we go to the park?
  • When is the party?
  • When do you play outside?



  • Why do we sleep?
  • Why do you wear a coat?
  • Why do you wash your hands?
  • Why do you eat?
  • Why do you drink?
  • Why do you go to school?
  • Why did you push your brother/sister?
  • Why do we have pets?
  • Why do we hear thunder?
  • Why do we wear shoes?
  • Why do we wear sunscreen?
  • Why does mommy/daddy go to work?
  • Why do we turn lights off at night?
  • Why do we water the plants?
  • Why do we use an umbrella?


  • Which toy do you want?
  • Which flavor do you want?
  • Which color is better?
  • Which one is your favorite?
  • Which shirt should you wear today?
  • Which book should we read?
  • Which fruit is best?
  • Which show should we watch?
  • Which one should we get?
  • Which game should we play?


  • How do we wash our hands?
  • How are you feeling?
  • How do we get dressed?
  • How do you unlock a door?
  • How do you make a sandwich?
  • How do you use the potty?
  • How do you turn it on?
  • How much do you want?
  • How much did you eat?
  • How do you put on your shoes?
  • How many cars do you have?
  • How old are you?
  • How did you get hurt?
  • How did you get wet?
  • How do you open the marker?
  • How long is it?
  • How many do you have?
  • How was school today?

Why are WH Questions Important for Speech Therapy

WH questions are a very important component of speech and language development. Knowing how to ask and answer WH questions allows children to:

  • Communicate their wants, needs, thoughts, and ideas with others
  • Ask about their environment
  • Ask for clarification
  • Get to know others
  • Demonstrate their knowledge
  • Follow directions
  • Engage in turn-taking conversations
  • Build grammar and vocabulary knowledge
  • Work on using appropriate word order and inflection

The Reasons Kids Struggle with WH Questions

WH questions are a complex language skill. Asking and answering WH questions require children to: 

  • Understand the different meanings of the WH questions words.
  • Differentiate the meanings of the WH questions words.
  • Formulate phrases or sentences.
  • Use appropriate grammar to communicate a message.
  • Possess the vocabulary necessary to ask or answer the question.
  • Understand the grammar of the question.

It’s easy to see why some children struggle with WH questions. It’s way more than just one skill! WH questions integrate many different components of language development together. Children may have difficulty with just one component, or they may need help with multiple. Children with various diagnoses, such as autism, may have additional difficulty asking and answering WH questions. In speech therapy, WH questions are often addressed one type at a time and one skill at a time to make sure kids have everything they need to succeed.

WH Question Development and Milestones

As with most language skills, WH questions typically develop along a fairly predictable timeline.

Age Skills
1-2 yearsAnswers simple “what” and “where” questions by labeling or pointing. For example, when asked “What is that?” a child may respond “ball”, or when asked “Where is daddy?” a child may point to their father. Asks simple “what” questions such as “What’s that?”Answers simple “yes/no” questions verbally or using gestures.Makes choices between 2-3 items by pointing or verbally saying their choice.
2-3 yearsAsks longer questions that start with “what” and “where” such as “Where did the toy go?” or “What is the dog doing?”Emerging skills of answering “Who” questions by pointing or giving a short response.Emerging skills of answering more abstract “what” questions such as “what do you do after you go potty?” (wash your hands). Asks “what” and “where” questions using complete sentences.
3-4 yearsEmerging critical thinking skills to begin answering “why” and “how” questions such as “How do you open the bag?”Learning how to ask more complex “why” and “how” questions such as “Why does the car have an engine?”
4+ yearsBy this age, children should have a basic mastery of asking and answering all types of WH questions. Additionally, children should be using complete sentences with a basic understanding of grammar. Some grammatical errors may still be appropriate (such as saying cutted instead of cut). Answers simple questions to gauge comprehension from books, movies, or shows.

If you have concerns about your child’s development of WH questions, please consult with a licensed speech-language pathologist for further screening or assessment. In the meantime, you may consider working with your child using some of the following activities and resources.

Games & Activities with WH Questions 

If you are working on WH questions with your child, as a parent or therapist, games and activities that are fun and engaging are so important! All children, regardless of age, learn best through play. 

Play Farm or House

This activity is perfect for younger children who are learning to answer WH questions. You can use a farm, house, or any other pretend play activity that your child enjoys (such as cooking, cleaning, cars, etc.). While you are playing, you first want to model the language you are targeting. For example, you could say “Now it’s time to take a bath. Look, he’s taking a bath!” or “The cow is hungry. He’s going to eat some hay.” After modeling language for a few minutes in play, you could start to ask simple questions such as “Who is eating?”, “What is the boy doing?” or “Where is he taking a bath?” It’s important to remember to 1) give the child time to respond and 2) model the correct response if they aren’t sure. Remember, play is supposed to be fun! If it just turns into work, they won’t want to keep playing.

Book Reading

Reading books with your child is great for SO many reasons. Reading encourages joint attention, increased attention span, vocabulary and grammar development, literacy awareness, and so much more! Reading can also be great work working on WH questions. For younger children, this may be as simple as asking “What’s that?” to work on basic vocabulary (but be careful not to do this too much), or working on action words like “Who is eating?” or “What is the cat doing?”.

Reading is also great for older children as well. You can ask basic comprehension questions such as “Who rode the bus to school?” or “Why did Jackson stay home?” either during reading or after the book is finished. 


Coloring, or other art activities, is such an engaging activity for all children! It’s also a great way to work on WH questions. You can ask things like “What are you drawing?” or “Which color would you like?”. You can also ask the child “What should I draw next?” or “Where does this animal live?” while you color alongside them.


This game may require a little more work ahead of time, but it is great for preschoolers through school age children. For this game, you’ll need to make a bingo card, but instead of numbers you’ll put pictures that answer various WH questions. For example, if one picture is of a cow you could ask “What animal makes milk?” or for a picture of a refrigerator you could ask “Where does food go to keep it cold?”. Then, the game is played like regular Bingo and can be practiced time and time again.

Word Scrambles

Word scrambles are excellent for children who are in middle to late elementary school and who are having difficulty with the grammar and content of asking WH questions. Word scrambles are sentences or questions that are presented with the words all out of order, and the child’s job is to put it back together correctly. It’s almost like a puzzle. For example, for the question “Where is Jenny going tomorrow?” the child may be given the words in the order /Jenny/going/is/tomorrow/where. This game is often easier if the words are written on post-its or note cards so they can be physically moved around. You may even find that the words can be arranged in more than one way to change the meaning, such as “Jenny is going WHERE tomorrow?”.

Question Sorting

This activity is great for helping children learn the different types of WH words and what they mean. For this game, you’d want to have several types of WH questions written on cards or paper, and bowls or containers to place them in. After reading the question, the child will decide whether the answer should be a person, place, time, reason, or other information, and place the question in the corresponding bowl. For bonus points, they can also work on answering the question.

Using Forbrain to Upgrade Speech Therapy Practice

Forbrain is an auditory stimulation headset that allows your voice to reach your brain 10x faster due to bone conduction. It also has a filter which highlights the high frequencies and attenuates the low frequency, making your voice more vibrant.

Forbrain is an excellent choice for working on WH questions in speech therapy because it allows immediate feedback of the WH question asked (whether the WH word used was correct), grammatical structures, or the response given to a question. This immediate feedback will help children learn to self-monitor, and can help them to correct their questions or responses without additional prompting. Forbrain can lead to improved progress on learning to ask and answer WH questions.
For more information regarding Forbrain’s use in speech therapy, see this ASHA article.


Final Words

WH questions are a complex skill that bring many different aspects of language development together. There are several reasons that children may struggle to ask or answer WH questions. If you have any concerns about your child’s ability to ask or answer WH questions, please consult with a licensed speech-language pathologist for further evaluation. If you are waiting for an evaluation or your child is already receiving therapy, some of the resources, games, and activities mentioned in this article may be helpful for you as you work with your child at home.


Lanza, J. R., & Flahive, L. K. (2008). Guide to communication milestones: Concepts, feeding, morphology, literacy, mean length of utterance, phonological awareness, pragmatics, pronouns, questions, speech sound acquisition, vocabulary. LinguiSystems.

Natalie Fitzgerald

Natalie is a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist and holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence from ASHA. She has earned Master's degree in speech and hearing sciences at the University of North Carolina. Natalie has worked with children of 1-21 years of age and has experience with a wide variety of speech and language disorders such as articulation and apraxia, fluency, expressive and receptive language, and AAC.

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