Prep: None / Activity Time: 5 Minutes

Although your baby is brand new to the world, he needs to listen to sounds to learn how to produce them and, in several months, say his first word! You can help your baby develop his listening skills and awareness of language by introducing him to verbal sounds and words.

Step 1: Hold your baby comfortably in your lap. You might wish to prop your legs by placing a stack of books or pillows under your feet so that your baby is about twelve inches away from your face.

Step 2: Sing a familiar children’s song to your baby that contains onomatopoeic sounds that represent animals (e.g., quack or meow). For example, you might sing Old MacDonald Had A Farm.

You can also make up your own songs by changing the words to other familiar songs. For example, try changing the words in The Wheels On The Bus to animal names and onomatopoeic sounds. You might sing:

The cows in the barn say moo, moo, moo,
Moo, moo, moo,
Moo, moo, moo.
The cows in the barn say moo, moo, moo,
On [baby’s name] farm.

Step 3: Continue by singing several verses and adding opportunities for baby to hear onomatopoeic sounds (e.g., duck/quack, horse/neigh, dog/arf, chick/peep).

Step 4: Look for signs that your baby is listening and interested in the sounds you are making. For example, he might begin to smile when he hears the onomatopoeic sounds. As your baby becomes several months older, he may even try to imitate the sounds you are singing!