Other things you can do!
Here are some games to develop language at home! If you complete any of the activities we would love to see a photo or two- you can send them to the class email address!
Go on a name safari
Walk around the house with your toddler. Point out and name different objects. Encourage your child to repeat the words after you. Ask your child where he wants to go next and follow his lead. See if he points to “ask” you what an object is.
Make an animal book.
Cut pictures of animals from magazines and glue them on paper/ print out animal pictures/ draw some favourite animals together. Punch a holes in the paper and tie them together with a short piece of string or ribbon to make your own animal book. Show your toddler each page, name the animal, and make its sound. Which animal is your child’s favourite? Which animal sound can he make first?
Play “can you find…”
Give your child a simple task: Go get your shoe. Make sure the object is in sight. As her receptive language (the words she understands) grows, you can ask your child to get a familiar object that is not in sight: Can you find your dump truck. This is a great way to help your toddler learn new words and to listen and follow directions
Here are some more simple ideas and advice to encourage your child’s language development and love of reading and books.
Chat with your child.
Research has found that the more parents talk with their children, the larger vocabularies those children develop. These children also use more advanced sentence structures. So chatting with your toddler—in the car, at the playground, during bath time—is very important.
Notice and build on your child’s interests.
Your child will let you know what interests and excites him by using his actions, facial expressions, and speech. When he points out the window or gives you a questioning look, put his actions into words: Yes, that’s a squirrel. Look at him running along the fence.
Use new words when you talk with your toddler.
A snack can be many things: good, healthy, yummy, crunchy, round, etc. Talk about what you are doing (I have to wipe the crumbs off the table) and about what you see your child doing (You are knocking down your block tower. Watch it go boom!).
Name pictures in books.
Point out connections between books and your child’s “real” life. For example, after you see the picture of a school bus in a story, you can watch one chug down the street later that afternoon. Help him make the connection.
Ask questions as you read.
Where is the caterpillar? You can also begin to ask your child questions like: Would you like to read a book? What book do you want to read? Soon your child will toddle off to pick up a book and bring it back to you.
Choose books with stories that repeat words or phrases. Children learn new words and pronunciations through repetition. One good choice for this age group is Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? by Eric Carle. Other good choices include books that:
- Books with clear pictures of common objects (name the pictures for your child); and
- Simple stories with predictable plots.
Read lots of books with your child.
Reading together helps your baby develop a love of reading. It also helps her learn the skills to read books (such as turning the pages, reading the words, talking about the pictures). Reading aloud also nurtures your child’s language and listening skills.
Let them move.
Keep reading. Children are often still listening even as they move around. In fact, some kids, who have a strong need to be on the move, listen better when they are in motion!
Encourage your child to act out the story you are reading.
For example, you can ask him to jump like the frog in the book.
Tell your child a story.
Instead of reading a book, tell your child a story. Children still gain important literacy skills by listening. They learn new words. They also learn how a story unfolds in a sequence (beginning, middle, and end). Put the book down when your child shows she is totally uninterested.
Follow your child’s lead and do some active play for a while.
Come back to the book later. Forcing children to read can lead to negative feelings about books.
Let your child help “read” the book.
Let your child hold the book and turn the pages. This helps her learn how a book works. See if she would like to read to you in whatever way she likes. She may want to point to the pictures and have you say what they are. Or she may babble as she “reads” the words on each page.