Playing copy-cat games helps your child to learn and get joy from imitating the things that you do. Imitation is such an important skill for speech and language development. It can start with body movements, progress to mouth movements, sounds, and eventually words. The more skilled your child becomes at focusing on your face and attempting to copy your mouth movements, the more likely her sounds are to be accurate.
Pets Can Share Too
Is your child tired of the same old toys? Before heading out to the nearest Target, have him take a turn with his furry best friend's toy. It will not only bring a fun novel experience to your child's day, but it might actually improve your fur baby's sharing skills (hopefully).
Interactions with pets can be amazing learning and communication opportunities when they are carefully supervised by adults. Make sure the pet and child feel comfortable and start talking about what the animal is doing in the moment.
Straws for the Win
As your little guy or gal starts drinking other liquids, skip the sippy cup and go straight to having your child practice drinking from a straw cup! Prolonged use of sippy cups cause an immature swallow pattern, tooth decay, tongue thrust, and speech delay. Plus, now there are some spill proof straw cups out in the market, so you can take them on the go with you without worrying about the mess.
Get on the Child's Level
Get on the the floor and engage in some fun with your child. The closer your are to her level, the more she can see what you are doing and saying.
Make Silly Faces
Prior to imitation of sounds comes imitation of faces, so have fun making silly faces and seeing if your little one will join in.
Knock Knock! Who's There?
Kiddos love looking to see what could be hiding behind a mystery door. Use that to your advantage and hide pictures or images that you would like for your child to recognize, understand, and eventually learn to label (i.e., family members, toys, preferred foods, animals, etc.). If you don't have your own wooden door toys, you can make your own with wipes tops and cardboard or felt.
As nice as it is to keep your child perfectly clean throughout the day, it does NOT benefit their learning. Children learn best by getting hands-on with things that are bound to get messy. Pick your battles and sometimes embrace the mess for a moment of immersive learning.
Pointing is a such an empowing gesture for children to learn. It can help with making clear choices, gaining attention, requesting for an item, identifying labeled items, and much more. Ways to practice pointing include: textured books, popping bubbles, toys with small buttons, pop-its, etc.
Get Hands On
Learning is done best when it is multimodal with as many of the child's senses (sight, taste, touch, smell, sound) being activated.
Peek-a-boo is a fantastic game for babies to learn early on. It helps to teach them object permanence, social skills, gross motor skills, and most importantly...a great sense of humor!
Make Novel Experiences Matter
What we tend to remember most as children are experiences that are extremely unique to the day-to-day routines. Have your child experience new things and be sure to talk about what is going on around him.