The interplay between action and language is still not fully understood in terms of its relevance for early language development. Here, we investigated whether action imitation may be beneficial for first language acquisition. In a word-learning study 24-, 30- and 36-month-old children (N = 96) learned the labels of different actions in one of two conditions: Either the children just observed the experimenter producing the action (observation condition) or children produced the action themselves (action condition). The results show that 36-month-olds learned the labels of the more complex actions in both conditions, whereas 30-month-olds learned the labels only in the action but not in the observation condition. These findings suggest that action imitation is beneficial for verb learning early in life.