Here is playful way to help your toddler develop his oral language, listening and thinking skills, which are all crucial to the development of literacy. As you engage in conversation with your child, you expose him to new words and add more information to words he already knows. When you sing together, you help him with sound discrimination while you have fun with him. Encourage him to tell you things, then listen patiently and ask him questions.
- farm animal stickers
- three to four baby food jar lids
Step 1: Gather several jar lids and place one sticker on the inside of each lid.
Step 2: Show your child a lid as you describe where it came from. Slowly turn the lid around and react with surprise as you discover the sticker on the underside. Hand him the lid as you talk about the picture. Attempt to engage him in conversation by asking him questions about the animal. Tell him the name of the animal and encourage him to say the word with you. Bring his attention to a detail in the picture and ask him to point to it. Encourage him to say the sound the animal makes or tell you anything he might know about the animal. You might say:
Look Charlie, this is the lid from your applesauce. Ooh! Do you see who is here? That is a cow! Say it with me, cow. Can you touch the cow’s head? See the brown spot on the cow’s head? Do you remember what a cow says? Moo, moo says the cow!
Step 3: After looking at all the lids and talking about the animals, place them on the floor. Encourage him to find the animal as you sing a song together. To the tune of Where Is Thumbkin? you might sing:
Where is the cow? Where is the cow?
(Shrug your shoulders and move your hands to gesture a question.)
Here it is! Here it is!
(Touch the picture you are singing about, let him hold it.)
What does the cow say? Moo, moo, moo, moo!
(Encourage him to say the animal sound.)
Hip, hip, hooray! Hip, hip, hooray!
(Wave your hands up in the air and cheer!)
Step 4: Have him put the lid back on the floor or in a designated container. If he is interested, sing about one of the other animals.