21 Months 1 Week – Using Size Descriptor Words

Roman Happy 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.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Roman big and heavyThe 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.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Roman loves targetOnce 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.

21 Months – Helping your Toddler Create Phrases with Possessive Words

roman with his lightsWe recently did a post about building phrases with “me” and “mine” such as “my shoes”.  Your child is very observant and he or she is beginning to know what specific items belong to certain people.  Often many of us are (unfortunately) attached to our phone these days so a common phrase you may hear is “Mommy phone”.  The more they see us with an item the more they will associate it with us.                                                                                         

We like to start off with clothing since a jacket, for example, is something we wear every day in the fall/winter.  They may be imitating or spontaneously saying “jacket” or “coat”, but you can now begin modeling possession such as “mommy coat”.  Other things to target could be toys or other personal items.  For instance, you could choose something that belongs to them such as “Roman’s dinosaur”.  They may not say the ‘s part quite yet, but just to get them thinking about WHO it belongs to is a big step.  

These techniques have also been helpful with behavior.  Let’s say your child is trying to rip the papers of a magazine that you are reading.  To put an end to this behavior, you can say “This is Mommy’s magazine and this is Roman’s book… we read magazines and books”.  The more you use the same language, the more likely they will catch on, listen, and say it back!

20 Months 2 Weeks – Creating “Uh Oh” Situations to Encourage Commenting 

Water spilledAs parents, we of course don’t love when a major spill happens or when our child is crying because they can’t get something out!  However, these situations often lead to lots of spontaneous language!  For instance, if water spills your child may say “Uh oh wet!”.                                                                                          

Blocks falling downDuring our speech therapy sessions, we love creating “uh oh” situations on purpose.  For instance, we may build a tower and then intentionally make it fall to see what the child says.  Or we may put a desired item in a jar, close the lid really tightly, and hand it to the child.  This gives them an opportunity to ask for “help” or perhaps use a descriptive word like “stuck”.  We advise parents to take a look at their day and think of a few instances where they can cause a structured “uh oh” whether it be during mealtime, bath time, or playtime.  It could be as simple as making an item fall down from the high chair and modeling “fall down”.  And if things happen naturally take it as an opportunity to model the appropriate language.  

UHOhiBookCover

And great news – we have an “Uh Oh” iBook coming out soon, which will show videos of “things going wrong” to encourage commenting.  Be on the lookout!  

21 Months 1 Week – Using Size Descriptor Words

Roman Happy 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.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

Roman big and heavyThe 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.                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Roman loves targetOnce 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.

18 Months 1 Week – Using Household Items for Play

Roaman walking on bubble wrap We love using traditional toys for play whether it be building blocks, puzzles, dollhouses, etc.  But there is also something to be said for items that were not intended to be toys.  We often hear parents saying “What’s the point in even buying toys?” and we understand why!  There are items all around your house that your children would be more than happy to play with – really gets their creativity going!  Here are some ideas ☺

Toilet or Paper Towel Rolls – you can use them as binoculars, microphones, or even attach it to fall and throw things in them and watch them fall down!

Magazines – talk about the pictures, practice cutting, or if they are even younger have them practice ripping the paper

Cardboard Boxes – make it into a car by having your child get in and push it around the house or give them some pens or crayons and let them scribble on it freely

Shoe Boxes – have your child open and close them while putting things in and taking things out…. You can even stack them high!

Bubble Wrap – tape some to the floor and have your child run across it to hear the popping sounds!

18 Months – Best Building Toys to Encourage Fine Motor Skills

Roman developing fine motor skills.

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 Blocks by First Builders

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 SetsLEGO 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!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

WedgitsWedgits – we loves these due to the wedge like shape… it makes it easier to stack and children are mesmerized by them!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Magna-TilesMagna-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 TilesTegu 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.

17 Months 2 Weeks – Cooking with Your Toddler

Roman making an english muffin 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!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Roman and peanut butter. 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.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Roman with a smore.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!