Prep: None / Activity Time: 3-5 Minutes

At this age, toddlers have begun to understand the value of language as a means of communicating with you. They typically have a vocabulary of about 15 to 20 words, and are beginning to string together two-word phrases. Although you will likely understand only about 50 percent of what your 18- to 23-month-old is trying to tell you, you can still encourage her language development in a variety of ways. One such way is by singing simple songs while incorporating movement or actions.

CD of children's songs

Choose a simple song your child enjoys listening to (you may play a recording of it or sing it yourself).

As you play or sing the song, make a movement (such as stomping) for each syllable you hear/sing.

Example: Mary Had a Little Lamb

Ma...ry     had    a     lit...tle    lamb

stomp  stomp   stomp   stomp   stomp   stomp   stomp

lit...tle    lamb,  lit...tle     lamb

stomp stomp   stomp   stomp stomp    stomp      

Ma...ry     had    a     lit...tle    lamb

stomp stomp    stomp   stomp   stomp stomp   stomp

Its     fleece   was    white    as     snow

stomp    stomp    stomp    stomp    stomp   stomp      

Encourage your child to follow along to the best of her ability. This is more about exposure and having fun than it is about "doing it correctly."

You may notice that your child is able to sing a few of the words clearly, but then babbles for the other words (sometimes, in time to the music!). She is approximating the sounds she hears in the song. Celebrate any and all attempts your toddler makes!