#5 – Books
Books are fantastic for so many reasons. They often have interactive elements such as parts to feel and flaps to lift. Books teach stories and new words, but you don’t just have to read them! Follow your child’s lead to see what they are interested in and give them the word for it. Head out into the garden to find real flowers to match it to the ones in the book.
These books are great for supporting your child’s learning across a range of engaging topics. They have simple language but lots of colourful pictures to talk about.
#4 – Music
Children not only enjoy making lots of noise, it also helps them form new connections in their brain! You can make up your own songs about whatever you’re doing at the time by borrowing melodies for well known nursery rhyme. Be sure to add important words that they need and repeat it lots of times for them to hear.
“The fact that babies respond to music at birth (and, in fact, in the womb during the last three months before birth) gives strong evidence for the existence of neural mechanisms that seem ideally suited for processing musical information” – Donald Hodges (2000).
Music is so powerful for language learning! Who can still remember all the words to a song from their childhood?
#3 – Feely bags
Children love exploring new things, and a feely bag can make this even more exciting for them! Just fill a bag with items from around the house and help your little one feel what is inside before revealing it. This gives a great opportunity to use describing words like soft, fluffy, squishy, smooth, big and small.
Our feely bag was made locally at The Craft House.
#2 – Messy play
Exploring textures and being messy also helps children build connections in their brains. It also comes with lots of opportunities to add language for your child to hear. Going to the beach to play in the sand and dip toes in the sea definitely counts!
Little Puffin Signing sessions use kinetic sand and mud. The children love it and because it sticks together it is slightly less messy than the real stuff.
#1 – Face to face
The single best language boosting activity is YOU interacting face to face with your baby! They get so much enjoyment from seeing a familiar person using exaggerated facial expressions. This is also the first way they learn about emotions.
This could be as simple as a game of peek-a-boo or singing Row Your Boat with signs or natural gestures.
If you’d like even more ideas about effective activities, The UK Government has just launched a website to help boost language development. This is a great source of ideas to add to your daily routines and includes a lot of activities used in Little Puffin Signing sessions.
Steph is a qualified speech and language therapist and Signalong Tutor.
Steph Black Speech and Language Therapy is registered with the Amazon Affiliate Scheme and only recommends products that have been tried and tested in sessions.