How to Use Games for Boosting Baby Language Development:
Baby Language Development: How to use games to boost progress
What practical, everyday games can do you suggest for baby language development?
There are literally hundreds of these games, but the majority for young children involves an interaction between child and adult. That is every thing from responding to a babbling infant by asking ‘What are you saying ?’ ‘You sound happy’ to teaching your 4 year old a tongue twister.
Children will always surprise you. I had a rather solemn second child, but she laughed out loud for the first time when her sister recited a very complicated Spike Milligan poem. I don’t suppose she understood more than a word or two, but repeated phrases such as ‘Jibber, jabber joo’ and ‘Ning, nang, nong’ had her in hysterics.
Some games may not seem like obvious language games, but even playing ‘Peep Boo’ will help a child to realize the importance of taking turns.
Little used ways for baby language development
Pictures and cut outs
I didn’t label everything, but on one door I had a series of cut outs of things my daughter was interested in – she is now a conservationist and zoo keeper so it is not surprising that even at about 18 months old this array included a picture of a lion.
It so happened that this particular picture had the word lion underneath it in large clear letters. She loved to look at this wall of pictures, and every day I would ask ‘Where is the ball? Where are the shoes? Then one day I asked ‘Where is the lion? and to my astonishment she pointed first to the word and then the picture.
I don’t suppose for one moment that she would have recognized the word in isolation, but she had reached the important conclusion that the word in some way symbolized the animal – one of the first important steps towards reading, but one we are all so used to that it can get overlooked.
Other games teach other things - turn taking being an important one.
Even a simple game of fitting pieces into the appropriately shaped hole can be used to widen vocabulary – ‘Where does the blue one go?’ ‘What is this shape called?’
Point to remember
You cannot play with your child all the time, but do take every opportunity to join in whenever they present themselves.
Baby Talk (A Lift The Flap Book)
"My daughter (and I!) absolutely love this book! So much, that it has had to be replaced a couple of times. She gets so excited to pull back the flaps and shout out what she is expecting to see. We started reading it at about 6 months - and now at 11 months, she knows it cover to cover!"
As a small child I loved to sort my granny’s button tin. The adults would sit around drinking tea and talking adult talk, talk which I didn’t join in – but every few minutes there would be input from one or the other – ‘How many blue ones are there?’ ‘Which is the biggest? Then which one is next?’
When I got a little older I would make pictures using the buttons and granny or granddad would help me tell a story about my pictures. The only down side as far as I was concerned was that at the end of the afternoon all the buttons went back into the tin – but it was o.k. because there would be a whole new game next week.
My mother didn’t have a big button tin, but she did have hair ribbons to sort and feel and then I discovered my fathers tins of miscellaneous nuts and screws which I would poke through the holes in a sieve… I was in heaven, and all the time I was learning - big/ little/ medium. Not just blue, but light blue/ turquoise/ royal blue/ dark blue; then there was short, longer, longest and all the rest.
There were no toy libraries then, nor money for expensive toys - but they weren’t needed.
Take home baby language development idea
I've given you 3 practical ideas here to help baby language development:
Cleverly using cutouts and pictures
Simple activities as fitting pieces, and...
Sorting and playing with everyday items
What I learned from this was that I experienced the world around me and using it as my language classroom. But there is one important ingredient I trust you noticed... lots of adult love and input. Just like you can give your child.If you'd also like to read about 11 more activities and games I propose for improving baby language development, click here