A great way to achieve 2-3 word phrases is to learn words other than nouns. This can include prepositions, adjectives, etc. This week we will talk specifically about using size descriptor words to expand phrases.
The first step as always is modeling what you want your child to say. In terms of size, “big” always seems to stand out. Try to find huge items in the home or outside such as big chair, big slide, etc. to comment on. A tip is to also make a big deal about it in order to emphasize it – “Wow look that’s a big moon!”. They may initially imitate the word “big”, so keep adding onto that word by verbally modeling such as “Yes it’s a big step”, “You’re right that’s a big orange”, etc.
Once they get the hang of that you can target the opposite “small”. We like to target this by starting with a big piece of fruit and cutting it up into smaller pieces to show them the difference. It’s a great activity to do with play dough as well! And feel free to use synonyms such as “tiny” when you’re teaching size. Other size concepts later on could be short vs. tall, wide vs. narrow, etc.
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Have you noticed that your child recently thinks everything is theirs and will often say “mine” or something similar such as “me” or “my”. It’s definitely early for learning a variety of pronouns, but you can begin with the difference between “mine” and “yours” to make your child aware that items also belong to other people. It the beginning of sharing and empathy!
To start you can show them things that are certainly theirs such as their straw cup, bib, blanket, stuffed animal, etc. and encourage their production of “mine”. Talk about how that is “your blankie”. Then present them with items that they associate with you such as your phone, jacket, shoes, etc. and say “mine”.
You can then talk to them about “yours” by using the same objects for both of you. For instance, if you are both holding ice cream cones you can say “mine” and then “yours” by pointing at the ice cream cones. The more they understand this concept the less likely they will be upset if they do not get to use your computer or phone when you are working from home or just writing a simple email!
Read our article on Big City Moms – ‘10 Tip for a Successful Mealtime‘
As speech therapists we are obsessed with building toys. Not only does it encourage fine motor skills, but we also get a lot of language out of our children. They can ask for “block” and “more”. They can practice prepositions such as “on top” and adjectives such as “tall”. Here are some of our favorites!
Mega Bloks by First Builders – they are big enough for tiny hands and your child can build the tallest towers without help!
LEGO DUPLO My First Lego Sets – these are smaller, but still appropriate for our toddlers (with supervision due to size!)… they are great since they have themes such as ice cream, transportation, animals, and lots more!
Wedgits – we loves these due to the wedge like shape… it makes it easier to stack and children are mesmerized by them!
Magna-Tiles – these are more appropriate for 3 and up, but we find that toddlers love that they are magnetic… you can show them how to build a tower or basic house – so many possibilities! They’re also great on a light table since you can see through them!
Tegu Magnetic Wooden Tiles – the key is magnetic AND wooden here – we love how they are made and they are easily manipulated by teeny tiny hands! Paint one of your walls with magnetic paint and use these against the wall.
Around this time your child is becoming a pro at pretend play, especially when it comes to eating and cooking. They may pretend to feed you with a spoon or cut fake vegetables or play dough. So why not start making basic recipes together in the home!
To start, we highly recommend getting a Learning Tower from Little Partners. It’s a safe way for them to stand and reach the counter. If you don’t have room for one, getting a high chair that hooks onto your dining table or can be pushed into the table is also a great idea.
You then want to pick easy recipes such as making salad, English muffin pizzas, avocado toast, cookies, quesadillas, peanut butter jelly sandwiches, and smoothies. It is the perfect opportunity to encourage language such as labeling the ingredients, talking about actions such as cutting and mixing, sequencing, following directions, and so much more! Don’t be afraid to let them cut with parent supervision as long as you are using a plastic knife – it’s a great fine motor skill to learn!
And watch out for our latest iBook ‘Little Chefs’ coming out soon with awesome no bake, vegan, gluten-free, and soy-free recipes perfect for toddlers! Now just give them a chef’s hat and let’s cook!
Now that your toddler is crawling and walking all about this is the best time to try a few unique experiences with them. Before you head out, think of some target words that you want them to learn throughout the experience. For instance, if you are going to a farm you can name farm animals, the food that is in season, actions that the animals are doing, novel words such as wagon or flowers, etc. Here are a few fun places we think encourage the most language… they might not be new to us, but for them it’s very exciting! Let your kids explore and go wild – of course without getting into any trouble!
– Amusement Park
– Fire Station
– Post Office
– Toy Store
Check out our second book in our Baby Actions Series. http://bit.ly/BabyActions2