My toddler is going through a language explosion. In a matter of months, he has gone from knowing a hundred or so words to perhaps thousands. It has been exciting and wonderful to watch. I want to share some of the activities that we have used that have been the most helpful for language development from around 18 months.
Our top three types of language work:
- Point and name type books - these style of book isolate the image/object and are good for pointing and naming. Montessori recommends reading a whole range of books to children, not just children's books, but I absolutely recommend these books for toddlers. We've been successful in finding a lot of books like this at the library.
- Three-Period Lesson - this is huge, we do it every day in everyday situations.
- Sticker books - I love the Usborne First Sticker book series (our favourite is the Big Machines) and have found them excellent for building vocabulary. They have lots of different items and they are all named, so it's easy to play and use the stickers while giving the child new words. Because they are fun to use and they follow my child's interest we've used these a lot.
Other types of language work we use often/daily:
- Language Cards - it can be affordable to make your own or buy them ready-made (our favourite source is Maitiri learning). Tailor them to include items in your everyday living (household objects, clothing, animals like pets or farm animals, foods like fruit and vegetables) and the child's interests. Later use the language cards for matching activities.
- Language Baskets - we've used lots of these on and off following the child's interest.
- Use real language - including technical or scientific names, there is no need to dumb down your language but more so expand on it.
- Talk to the child from birth - from birth we talk to the infant, we tell them what we are doing, what is going to happen next, this not only shows respect, it strengthens bonds and develops communication skills (listening, non-verbal communication) very early.
- Playing Shops - my toddler loves to play shops and it's great for language development. One of us is the shopper and the other is the shop keeper, we have a little shopping basket and often use food packets or toys as products from the shop.
We also love to use finger-plays and songs, we name parts of our bodies and name things that we see on nature walks. I'd love to hear about the language activities that you've found to be the most successful for toddlers.