Language: Use the same phrases (“Look! I found a…”) and simple sentences. Use gestures and pointing to help encourage understanding. Label items and pictures (flower, duck) but also describe them (pretty, cold, wet). Encourage following directions (“Give the flower to x.” “Find the little duck”).
Speech: Copy your baby’s sounds in a back and forth manner. Use fun sounds and words (“whee!,” “ooooo,” “ohhhh,” “wow,” “uh oh,” “oh no!”). Try to get face to face as much as possible so your child can see your mouth. Speak slowly, emphasize important words (“The bird is ON the fence!”), stretch out sounds in words (“uuuuuhhhhppp,” “sssssun”) to draw attention to them.
Cognitive/concepts: Talk about WHERE things are (up/down/in/out/on/off), the SIZE of things (big/little), the FEEL of things (wet/dry), COLORS (red, blue, yellow, green), HOW MANY there are (counting, 1, 2, 3, more).
Literacy: It’s okay to read the same book over and over! Or the same page! This encourages learning through repetition. Follow the words from left to right with your finger as you read. Ask questions (“Where did he go?” “What is the baby doing?”). Make comments (“I see a yellow duck”). You don’t have to read the book from start to finish, just talk about it, interact with it and your child, and have fun!
Gross motor: Go on a nature scavenger hunt – find leaves, sticks, rocks, flowers, etc. Draw with sidewalk chalk – you can draw out an obstacle course (footsteps to walk on, then lines to jump over, etc.). Crawl through a big box like a tunnel. Roll, bounce, and throw a ball. Take any indoor movement activities OUTSIDE!
Fine motor: Use any nature items (leaves, flowers) to paint. Use a fork to ‘stamp’ the petals of flowers. Use a dropper with watercolors or use markers to draw on coffee filters then clip with a clothes pin to make a butterfly! Fill buckets with different sizes of rocks to move, sort, dump, etc.
Sensory: Take a walk and smell the flowers. Sit/walk in the grass with bare feet. Create a spring bin – fill a small, shallow tray with outdoor items (leaves, grass, flowers, dirt, rocks) and add shovels, scoops, fake bugs, and small pots to dump and fill. Fill a small tub with water and add rubber ducks, rocks, sticks, leaves, etc. Talk about what you and your child are doing as you play!
Music: “Oh where, oh where has my little duck gone?” (to the tune of “Oh where, oh where has my little dog gone?”), “Put the flower on your nose, on your nose. Put the flower on your head, on your head…” (to the tune of “If you’re happy and you know it”), “5 Little Ducks Went Out One Day.” Hold long ribbons and dance and swirl like the wind.
Social/Emotional: Decorate paper plates with duck/chick/flower faces and talk about emotions (happy, sad, mad, sleepy). Talk about feelings when you read them in a book or story or in real life situations. Label/talk about how your child might be feeling when they don’t have the words to tell you. Stay close when big emotions come but allow your child to calm down before trying to talk with him/her, then talk about the situation.
Happy Spring from Columbus Speech & Hearing Center!
If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s speech and language development, contact Lora McConnell, M.A., CCC-SLP at (614) 261-5462 or firstname.lastname@example.org.