Isn’t it exciting when you hear your toddler’s first words? And yet, the babbling gets to be too much some days when you wish you were on a deserted island! But your little one counts on you as his role model for language development. You can help your toddler build upon his vocabulary by frequently carrying on a conversation with him and elaborating on what he has to say. Engage in a few language activities to keep learning fun and playful.
Use Descriptive Words
Toddlers need to hear and learn words that tell them what they see (car, dog, blocks), words that describe what they do (walk, play, eat) and words that tell them how things feel (soft, hard, hot), as well as emotional words that tell them how they feel (happy, angry, afraid). Carry on conversations with your little one, sometimes filling in the gaps to expand on their two-word sentences at this age.
Language Through Music
Toddlers love music and as they sing this encourages verbal skills. It’s best to keep songs to a few, as your little vocalist learns by repetition. Singing “Eensy Weensy Spider” and “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” over and over is a good way to learn the songs and practice their language skills. Another fun activity is to make up songs about what you are doing at home. A simple clean up time song or one about time to wash our hands teaches transitions and necessary vocabulary together.
Storytime Builds Vocabulary
Read stories your toddler likes to hear. They love stories with repetition and enjoy the same story day after day. Choose books that are short and have simple story lines. Your little one will learn words from the book and will be able to fill in the blanks as you challenge him with this memory game.
Talk With a Puppet
Young children love puppets and they are a great way to encourage language. Don’t be too upset if you find your toddler conversing with the puppet more than with you. It’s a natural attraction! Use puppets to tell a story, sing a song or announce a daily task. Let your little puppeteer respond back to you with a puppet on his hand, too!Words Everywhere at Home
Create a print-rich environment at home with words on signs. Place these signs on familiar objects so toddlers can identify the item with the printed word. This is an early introduction to reading and language skills. For example, write the word “door” and place this sign on the front door or identify the container of blocks with a written sign attached.