Let's Play: the speech and language way

Speech and language therapy ideas for playing at home



10 Strategies to Help Toddlers Learn to Talk

Some toddlers seem to talk without any help at all. For others, we need to help a bit more. Whether toddlers have a language delay or are just learning to communicate, we are their best teachers. Talking to them, and -more importantly – WITH them, can make a world of difference. Here are my favorite strategies for helping toddlers learn to talk (in no particular order):


Talking about your toddler’s interests will make much more of an impact than talking about what we are thinking. Using short phrases, single words, and even just meaningful sounds while taking a moment to kind of jump into your toddler’s head and say HIS ideas will help your toddler give verbal/vocal meaning to his thoughts. Just because he is playing with a shape sorter does not mean he wants to name shapes and colors. He also may not want to ask questions. So if we are spending more time asking “what’s that?” and “where’s the circle?” then we are not giving voice to HIS ideas. He may be more interested in stacking the shapes, so say “up, up, up”; he may think it’s fun to tap the shapes together, so try “bang, bang, bang”; he may just want to toss the shapes into a bucket, so then you could say “whee” or “uh-oh” or “ready, set, GO”. Follow HIS ideas, give words to HIS play. Say HIS words. MORE ideas: Say What They See

Model language to help toddlers learn to talk by giving a voice to THEIR ideas


The moments that your toddler initiates communication (showing you something, reaching for something, pointing to something) are what we, as speech language pathologists, often try to recreate during therapy sessions. However, these moments happen throughout the day and should not be missed. When your toddler points, name the object before you ask a question. When your toddler is struggling to make a decision, offer two choices. When your toddler grabs your hand and wants you to follow, say the word they should use to ask you to stand “up” or “come” here or “help”. Toddlers may not be interested in repeating the same task or playing with the same toy for an extended period of time so make sure you those moments count. MORE ideas: Magical Moments

Help your toddler learn to talk by making the moments he initiates communication truly count!


Children learn to imitate and move before they learn to talk. If words are a challenge, use what they CAN do – imitate and move. Using gestures and motions with sounds allows a toddler to imitate the motion if the sound isn’t ready yet. They will feel success because they were able to do SOMEthing that you did, even if it wasn’t the word. The more success they feel (because we cheer for them) the more they may try other actions and sounds. When we greet people we say “hi” and wave. Most of the time, toddlers will imitate the waving before they say the word “hi”. That’s perfect. Let’s do more of that. Pair the sound with an action. When you say “milk” give the sign as well. When you say “dinosaur”, try stomping your feet with the syllables “di-no-saur”. Your toddler may stomp back. When you say “GO…”, try patting your mouth as you hold that “oh” sound. Your toddler may vocalize “oh” when he imitates the motion of smacking his own mouth – ha! MORE ideas: Communicating Before Words

Imitation and gestures will help your toddler learn to talk.


Doing things with others is often less intimidating than being expected to put on a solo performance. When we sing and chant and complete familiar phrases at the SAME time as our toddlers, we give them opportunities to see our mouths move in the same way that their mouths should be moving. It’s so powerful. It’s also fun! Songs provide predictable and repetitive patterns to our words and pair those words with melody and intonation. Using familiar songs, making up your own with functional phrases, or just chanting and completing phrases together e.g. “turn the… (page)” allows the toddler to practice words in the same way over and over again in a FUN way because you say them together! MORE ideas: Music and Singing

Help toddlers learn to talk with music and singing


When the activity options are endless or the snack pantry is a free-for-all then making a choice can be super challenging – for anyone. Offering your toddler a choice of ONLY TWO options can help to limit the words needed. (It also helps limit the thinking needed to come up with an idea.) When you KNOW what your toddler wants, offer it as the 2nd option. For example, your toddler loves goldfish crackers and you’re pretty sure that’s what she wants. Offer an obvious non-preferred choice first then the most obvious preferred choice 2nd, as in “broccoli or goldfish”. By offering the most preferred option 2nd, you’ve really just created an opportunity for your toddler to repeat the last word they heard rather than ALSO having to make a definite choice AND come up with the right word. That’s hard. We don’t want to make it hard. We want success! You may need to hold up the objects or pictures so that your toddler can visualize what the choices are. Even if they can’t yet say the words, at least they can point to their choices. You know what they want, they know what they want, and frustration may be reduced.

Offer toddlers a choice to help them learn to talk


Toddlers are busy. Super busy. They don’t always want to interrupt their activities in order to look at us, so we have to make it interesting and purposeful to watch our mouths move. Drawing attention to our mouth when we say single words or sounds helps her watch the movement of speech. Can’t find something? Call out to the missing object while cupping your hands around your mouth… “Daddy, where are you?” Can’t find a ball? Search for it (with purpose) “Ball?” “Ba-aaalll, where are you”. Watching how the mouth moves can also help when your preschooler needs to learn how to say specific sounds correctly. If watching your mouth isn’t high on your toddler’s or preschooler’s list of importance then you may need to get creative. MORE ideas: Watch My Mouth Move

Help toddlers learn to talk by watching mouth movements


When words aren’t easy, try sounds. Sometimes you may need to simplify a word down to its smallest part in order for your toddler to attempt it. For example, he loves dinosaurs but he never says “dinosaur”. Break it down. “Dinosaur. Dino. Di. Duh. Roar.” Offer any or all of these simplified versions of the word to see when your toddler is willing and able to attempt an imitation of whatever you said. Sometimes we need to go all the way down to a meaningful sound “ROAR!” No matter what level we model, we then need to help build the word back up so that, over time, your toddler learns to say the whole word. How about “milk”? Try “milk, mi, mmmm” or the sign for milk. Playing with sounds will ultimately help encourage a vocal toddler. Vocal and noisy toddlers turn into talking toddlers. MORE ideas: Playing With Sounds

Help toddlers learn to talk by simplifying words into sounds and gestures


Creating opportunities to talk is one of my favorite ways of talking with toddlers. These early “conversations” open the door for little ones to participate, but they don’t have to. When we pretend that we don’t know where things are, or can’t remember something, then this gives toddlers their big chance to help US! For example, give a toddler his yogurt but forget to give the spoon. Give the toddler just ONE cracker but forget to give more. Give your toddler ONE shoe, but forget where the other shoe even is! (Well, maybe you don’t have to pretend with that one. Ha!) The idea is that we want to talk WITH our toddlers, not just AT them. Asking them about their ideas or where things are or how to solve a problem, gives them opportunities to communicate. Their communication does not need to be full sentences or even with words, but at least they can participate through actions or gestures. Sometimes, the LESS you know, the more they can help!

Invite toddlers to talk or participate in conversations by asking obvious questions.


Taking the pressure off may be one of the most effective strategies we can use to open the doors of communication. I’ve already mentioned the strategies of singing, offering choices, and being forgetful which are great pressure-reducers. However, one of my favorite pressure-reducing strategies is to start with two little words: “I wonder”. Rather than ask your toddler “what’s this”, try wondering aloud while YOU look at the picture of the ball: “I wonder what this is.” Sounds simple and maybe you’re thinking that won’t work. Try it. Take it a step further and wonder aloud if it could be “a car? no. a bird? no.” Keep wondering “hmmmm”. Maybe even wonder aloud if it could be one of two things (this way you are reminding your toddler of the word without telling them) “I wonder if it’s a car or a ball…hmmm”. You may be surprised when your toddler tries to help you by saying “ball!” Asking direct questions and giving specific commands often feels like a test. (For example: “What color is this?” and “Say blue.”) If your toddler does not want to perform on demand, then it may be time to reduce the pressure and test-type questions. MORE ideas: Two Little Words

Help your toddler learn to talk by taking the pressure off.
Reduce questions to help your toddler learn to talk


Your toddler thinks it’s HILARIOUS to pop bubbles or play “peek-a-boo” or “tickle me” or “throw me in the air”. Whatever gets his interest, give that game a name! Then wait. Wait. Wait some more. Wait until HE gives you some indication that he wants it to continue. He may smile, he may search, he may reach, he may look at you… whatever it is – WAIT for it. When he indicates the game needs to go on – NAME it or say “more” or “again”! The more we continuously entertain our children without waiting for their requests, the more we have missed opportunities to help them communicate! Make those anticipatory silly faces, hold those toy cars at the starting line, get your hands in the tickle position, pucker your lips to blow some more bubbles…but DON’T. Give your toddler the chance to tell you “ready, set… GOOO!”

toddlers learn to talk by giving them wait time and naming fun activities

So, there’s my “10 strategies” list. I intentionally did not write “top 10” or “10 best” because there are so many strategies that are helpful. Many overlap. Some need to be combined. Some are better suited for specific activities. Some work better than others depending on the child and the caregiver. The bottom line is that HOW you talk WITH your toddler can make a huge impact. No toy or app can ever replace a human being when it comes to learning to communicate. You don’t need to master ALL of these strategies, but if you try a few you may be glad you did! You’ll know you got it right because your toddler will let you know (with words or a smile).

Toddlers learn to talk when they are engaged in the activity.  Look for their smile.

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Name That Game: helping toddlers learn to ask for what they want

What do you and your toddler like to do together? How does he let you know he wants you to do it again or do more of it? When a little one is learning to talk we need to make sure we are naming all kinds of things – even things that don’t seem to have a name – so that he can ask for it again.

When we blow bubbles or sing songs there are natural stopping points in the activity so we can ask “do you want more?”. That’s an obvious question to ask once we are already involved in the activity. But how does your toddler request something on their own? Well, he may know that he can ask for “bubbles” or the “bus” song because he has heard those names before. What about activities like run in a circle and then crash on top of Daddy? How about the swing-me-in-the-air game? Even games that you make up need to have names. Otherwise, your little one won’t know how to request it and you might be in for a surprise when he just starts climbing all over you trying to play the touch-mommy’s-nose game you played yesterday but then forgot all about.

So, if you and your little one like to play games that you invent – PERFECT! Just give it a simple name so that she can ask you again, on her own, or so that you can offer it as a choice later. You want to play “tickle” or “wheeeee?”

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Watch Me: tips for increasing visual attention for early talkers

Babies aren’t born knowing how to talk. They learn, from us. Although a first word is a major milestone, there are so many communication skills they need to master before that first word is ever heard. Watching others is how most babies learn to do…well, most anything! They watch us point, they want to point. They watch us clap, they try to clap. They watch us stick out our tongue, they want to do the same. If they are listening and watching then when we say “bababa” they might give it a try. Watching leads to imitation and imitation leads to learning. So what do we do when our little ones aren’t naturally watching us?

If you have a little one in speech therapy already, you may have heard that you should hold objects near your mouth when you name them so that your little one can watch your mouth move while looking at the object at the same time. It’s a good strategy. I recommend it all the time. But why?

If you’ve ever felt that your child isn’t listening to you and doesn’t seem to imitate your sounds very often, it may be time to focus on visual attention. What is that? It just means encouraging your little one to watch you: watch your mouth, watch your facial expressions, watch your actions. They can’t imitate well if they aren’t watching. Start there. Imitation is key. Didn’t I say that already? Oh, yes, repetition is important too!

Additionally, watching an adult’s mouth move is important for learning how to say specific sounds more accurately and realizing that my mouth needs to open, or my lips need to close, or my tongue needs to go up – whatever the case may be. Either way… if you have a little one learning to talk or a preschooler trying to say sounds more accurately… encouraging them to watch your mouth can be hugely beneficial!

Maybe it works for you if you just say “look at me”. Great! Go with that! However, most toddlers don’t really like to be told what to do so we need to get creative…

Draw attention to your face

  • Hold objects near your mouth when you name it. When your toddler wants milk (or anything), pause before you give it to them and just say the word clearly while you hold it near your mouth. “Milk.” You don’t need to ask them to do it. Just say the word. Watch that their eyes shift from the milk to your mouth and back again.
  • Blow bubbles and PAUSE while you hold the wand near your mouth to say “bubble” or “go”. If they are awaiting the bubble to appear from the wand, they are also staring straight at your mouth!
  • Make funny faces or sounds in a mirror. Bonus points for using painter’s tape to create a frame on large bathroom mirrors. Mirror play can also be a little less intimidating for those who are hesitant to make eye contact in close proximity.
  • Make a cardboard frame and hold it up around your face.
  • Cut out a hole in a cardboard box and wear it like a helmet. Now you are an astronaut or you’re on TV!
  • Use a puppet theater but instead of using puppets, use yourself!
  • Talk through the cut outs in board books.
  • Hold up a diving ring or pop toob to put a colorful circle around your face.
  • Cup your hands around your mouth, but hold them open wide enough to not cover your mouth. Then call out or “sing out” to objects/people that you are trying to find.
  • Play peek-a-boo with the slats around a crib… or anywhere with anything.
  • Wear bright lipstick! Then make lip stamps on paper for a fun mouth moving activity…”mmmmwah!”
  • Put on a paper plate mask with a large opening for your mouth – or any mask that shows your mouth.

Do something different or out of the ordinary

  • Imitate your toddler. We spend a lot of time saying words he isn’t yet able to say and encouraging him to try. It’s a perfect recipe for a toddler to tune you out! However, if we say “babadada” after they do it first, that might be different and interesting because mom and dad can say HIS sounds and then he may pay more attention since it’s something he can already do! Sometimes a little easy practice is a nice change.
  • Be forgetful. When you don’t remember where a highly preferred item is or can’t see it (when it’s clearly in view), this may prompt your little one to A) wonder what happened to you and/or B) desperately try to get your attention to help you. Either way, they are more likely to look at you.
  • Be incorrect. Similar to being forgetful, purposefully name their favorite toy or food or person something different with an uncertain tone then pause… wait. They, again, might think you are crazy or try to help their poor mom who just can’t seem to get things right.
  • Turn lights off and get out a flashlight! Don’t scare your little one with a spooky face, but put the light directly onto your mouth. Make some easy sounds “aaahhh” “oooo” “mmmm” so they can watch how your mouth changes.
  • Whisper. Teachers know this one well. If you turn off lights or clap your hands in a rhythm to see who’s paying attention, these subtle changes may help gain some control over a noisy room. Similarly, instead of talking loudly or even in a normal voice, try super quiet. When you whisper, your toddler may wonder what the secret is all about and watch you more intently.
  • Use an action around your mouth while you talk or make sounds. Make silly sounds like “aaaahhhh” and pat your mouth at the same time, that way they not only need to listen to what you are saying, but need to watch how you did that.

Once your little ones are watching you, they have a much better chance of doing what you’re doing and maybe even saying what you’re saying.

Other posts you may be interested in:

FREE Handouts

Do Not Let This Moment Pass

Be sure to like and follow my Facebook page so you don’t miss out on any of my tips for play-based speech and language learning! Thanks for reading and sharing 🙂

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Playing with Wrapping Paper

You have found the cutest wrapping paper. It has your little one’s favorite characters on it.  Seems a shame to give it just a one-time purpose.  What else can you do with wrapping paper that isn’t just wrapping presents?  Even if you prefer to use gift bags for presents, you may still want to get some wrapping paper when it’s on sale!  It can be a fun toy – especially on some of these longer, colder indoor days of winter.

One of the best features of wrapping paper is that it has fun characters in a repetitive pattern.  That makes it perfect for memory/matching games!

Cut out the characters and place one set of matching faces in a box or on the floor or tape them to a cardboard box.  Put the second set of matching faces anywhere else (a different room, in a dry sensory bin, or tape on the wall).  Try it in the dark with a flashlight for even more excitement!

Once the characters are cut out there are lots of other great ways to use them!  Get out a glue stick or some tape and use them like stickers.  Decorate a cardboard box or paper plate.  They can be flashcards, pieces of mail, or even puppets (just tape to popsicle sticks!)

play speech toddlers home

Of course, wrapping paper is easily torn so if you really want these to last you’ll need to protect them with contact paper so they can be played with more than one day.  Real toys of TV characters can be pricey so using wrapping paper can be an inexpensive way to practice naming your little one’s favorites!

Using the backside of wrapping paper can be a huge blank canvas for finger painting or shaving cream play!  Quite possibly the best part of a wrapping paper roll is the long cardboard tube as the added bonus “toy” when the paper runs out!  This is awesome for a car tunnel, telescope, baseball bat, hockey stick, microphone, or an oar for your cardboard box boat!  Don’t forget to decorate it with your “wrapping paper stickers” that you just cut out! 

speech play toddlers

When the paper is inevitably ripped, wrinkled, and beyond repair just wad it all up for a “snowball” toss game!

When it’s the time of year for wrapping paper with every character or festive object in repeating patterns to be abundantly available, stock up!  It’s the gift that keeps on giving!

For more indoor play ideas with basic materials you may want to check out:

Indoor play with an active toddler

The Top 5 “Non-toy” toys

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Stocking Stuffer Ideas from a Speech Therapist

The gifts under the tree tend to be the focus when thinking about Christmas presents, but the stocking stuffers can be just as fun and meaningful.   

Thinking about ideas for children who are learning to talk?  Here are some stocking stuffers that may help with speech and language development:

(This post contains Amazon affiliate links which means I may potentially earn a small fee based on qualifying sales.)

Bubbles – Check out this link for play ideas with bubbles

Wind-up toys – One of my favorite toys that requires minimal attention span with a fun incentive!  Check out this link for using wind-up toys to help little ones ask for help.

Voice changer – Anything that gets little ones interested in using their voice is a winner with me!  You might just want to start with blowing or “aaahh”.

Basic flashlight – A flashlight in a darkened room can help keep your little one’s interest so that you can “find” things and stay on the same topic!  Check out this link to indoor activities for some flashlight play ideas.

Whistles, horns, kazoos, harmonicas, trumpets, party blowers – Again, anything that gets the mouth moving wins!  Take turns, have a parade, or just put it out of reach so they can ask for it again.

Playdough – Check out this link for play ideas with playdough

Stickers – A non-messy way to be creative…or to just stick a bunch of pictures on some paper (or the wall, the doors, the furniture…ha!)  Just be sure to name the stickers as you peel them off.

Bath books or small board books – Check out this link for play ideas for books and this link for books that should never be read.

Little People figures and animals – Pretend play is so much better with small figures and animals that little ones can hold.  Check out this link for  pretend play ideas.

Crayons, markers – Making lines, circles, and dots are excellent ways to practice imitation and then pair it with fun sounds.  Check out this link for play ideas with doodling.

Mittens, socks, and chapstick might be some of the more traditional stocking stuffers but if you get some with fun designs or colors then it gives you more opportunities to offer choices to your toddlers and practice vocabulary:  “Do you want socks with cars or planes?”  “Pink mittens or purple?”

Vibrating toothbrush – Give little ones some independence when brushing their teeth by giving them one that vibrates!  You even get to create an opportunity for them to ask “on” or “off” or “help” – if the button or switch is a bit too difficult.

Be sure to check out some of my other Christmas-themed blog posts for helping little ones learn to talk and play:

12 Sounds for Christmas

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

25 Sounds to Practice When You Find Your Elf Each Morning

Best Toys and Gifts: a speech therapist’s list!

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25 Sounds to Practice When You Find Your ELF Each Morning

Whether your little one understands the story behind the elf or not, just searching for him in a new location each morning can be fun!  Call out to him several times as your little one is waking up or starting the search: “Eeeelllllfff, where are you?”  If you have a creative, mischievous, messy, or maybe a forgetful elf who sometimes doesn’t move at all… here are 25 sounds to practice with your little one who is just learning to talk (of course many of these sounds could be used for several different elf sighting types!):

Creative or impressive-type elf:

  • Wow
  • Oooo
  • Tada
  • Hooray
  • Woohoo
  • Yippee
  • Aha
  • Yay

Mischievous elf:

  • No No No
  • Uh-oh
  • Rut Ro
  • Yikes
  • Whoa
  • Eek
  • Ouch

Messy elf:

  • Yuck
  • Ack
  • Ugh
  • Eww
  • P.U.
  • Oh no
  • Aww

Forgot to move elf:

  • Huh?
  • Hmm…
  • Oops

Finding anything is a fun way to practice speech and language skills.  If your little one isn’t yet using phrases or sentences then just stick with sound play and single words.  This allows them to potentially imitate a sound that is more within their abilities.  No one likes to be asked to do hard stuff all the time.  Sometimes, we need easy.  We need fun. 

Elf-finding is a fun, repetitive game to play and gets the whole family involved!  For more Christmas-themed speech and language learning ideas, check out: 12 Sounds for Christmas and Santa Claus is Coming to Town.

If you are looking for toy and gift ideas for little ones, especially those who are learning to talk, go to my BEST TOYS AND GIFTS list.

Most importantly, be sure to “like” and follow me on Facebook so that you don’t miss any of my play ideas for helping little ones learn to talk!

Do not let this moment pass

You know what your little one wants.  Everyone knows it.  It’s obvious she’s pointing to something or reaching for something or staring at something.  However, she hasn’t started talking yet or, at least, she doesn’t yet know THAT word.  What do you do to help HER learn to tell YOU what she wants?

Let’s just use the photo above for our example.  She wants to reach that door handle.  She can’t.  She needs our help.  Here are some choices:

  • Open it for her.
  • Respond: “Do you want me to open it?  Say ‘open’.”
  • Kneel next to her and pretend you can’t reach either then grunt “uh, it’s too high”.  Grunt some more while pretending to reach. 
  • Stand next to her and knock.  “Knock knock”.
  • Get down to eye level and ask “open?”  Wait for eye contact, a head nod, a smile, or some indication that means yes, then point to your mouth and say “OOOOpen”.
  • Approach her and ask “do you want to close it or OPEN it?”

Any of these responses could get the job done, but depending on your child’s abilities, you may want to try a variety of these to see which option gets the better communication result.  Maybe you want to focus on social interaction, maybe answering yes/no questions is the target, maybe the goal is imitating sounds (“knock”), or maybe the goal is attempting a new word.

The key to Magical Moments, is that you have to capitalize on that sweet spot between knowing what the request is and BEFORE your toddler starts to get upset or frustrated.  If you find the magical moment and use the strategy the best fits your child’s abilities, you are much more likely to see results.

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Need a printable version of some of the more popular blog posts?  Go to FREE HANDOUTS.

12 Sounds for Christmas

It’s seems to come earlier and earlier every year.  Stores used to wait until Halloween was over until they put out Christmas decorations, but now it isn’t uncommon to see Halloween, Thanksgiving, AND Christmas decorations in stores at the same time!  Whether you celebrate any or all of these holidays, your little ones will notice the displays in any store that you go to.

Playing with sounds is one of my favorite ways to help little ones learn to talk!  Christmas is a GREAT time for sounds…and music, lots of music!  Let’s explore some of the simple sounds that may be fun to practice with little ones:  help toddlers talk with sounds at Christmas

  1.  “Fa la la la la la la la la” – Sing Deck the Halls; “yayayaya” and “dadadada” would also be perfectly acceptable.
  2. “Wow” – When your kids inevitably notice the huge inflatable decorations in stores and your neighbors’ yards!
  3. “Brrr” – Depending on your location, Christmastime is likely cold and possibly snowy
  4. “Ooo aah” – Your little one will be mesmerized by all of the lights…flashing, musical, twinkling, etc.
  5. “Ho Ho Ho” – Santa’s belly laugh!
  6.  Tongue Clicks – for reindeer hooves
  7.  “Mmm” – all the Christmas sweets and goodies!
  8. “Tada!” and “Hooray!” – opening up gifts or finding your Elf each morning
  9. “Hey!”Jingle Bells is not the easiest song for little ones, but at the end of the song is a very enthusiastic… oh what fun it is to ride in a one horse open sleigh“HEY!” 
  10.  “Rum pum pum pum” – when your little drummer boy is banging on your pots and pans throughout the house!
  11. “Choo choo” – This is the most amazing season for model trains to be set up all over your town.  You can also take a ride on a real train or set one up around your tree.
  12. “Ding ding” or maybe “jingle jingle” depending on the type of bell – Bells will fill the air and all of the holiday music in your car!

If you’re little one isn’t yet talking and you are asking, where are the words?, remember that sound play and imitation are necessary skills to learn before your little one will start saying many true words.  If you are looking for more Christmas play and toy ideas check out Santa Claus is coming to town! If you have an Elf at your house, 25 Sounds to Practice When You Find Your ELF Each Morning.

Need a toy list especially for little ones who are learning to talk?  Best toys and gifts: a speech therapist’s list!  and Stocking Stuffer Ideas from a Speech Therapist

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Christmas sounds for toddlers

Thank you for sharing!  Merry Christmas!

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50 Simple phrases to use with Baby Shark

If you can’t stop the “Doo doo doo doo doo doo” in your head then why not at least use it to help your little one learn NEW words and phrases?!  Your little one already knows the tune and the motions, so use that to your advantage and just change the lyrics!

The “Baby Shark” song is so catchy and repetitive and repetitive and repetitive.  Kids love it!  If you have somehow missed the hysteria, here’s the video clip.

Use this simple melody to sing about daily routines, outings, behavior, playtime… ANYTHING!  Just slow down the pace and PAUSE before that last word so that your little one can try to fill it in… then dance around and “doo doo doo doo doo doo…”  Ha!

Of course any of the following objects or people could easily be changed out for whatever is more appropriate for that moment.  Also, you could squeeze in an extra syllable or two if necessary.

Here are just 50 common, simple 3-syllable phrases we may want to teach our little ones:

  1. I love you
  2. I want more
  3. Hello, Mom
  4. Bye bye, Dad
  5. I see you
  6. Peek-a-boo
  7. Wake up, Dad
  8. Put it on
  9. Turn it off
  10. It’s a dog
  11. Car is red
  12. Find the cat
  13. Stack up blocks
  14. I need help
  15. Where’s the ball?
  16. What is this?
  17. Who is that?
  18. Here you go
  19. Thank you, Mom
  20. Clean up toys
  21. Time for lunch
  22. Eat your peas
  23. I like cheese
  24. I’m all done
  25. Go upstairs
  26. Put on socks
  27. Hands to self
  28. Walking feet
  29. Inside voice
  30. Please sit down
  31. Let’s go out
  32. Get your shoes
  33. Buckle up
  34. Car goes fast
  35. Driving car
  36. I see trees
  37. Wave to her
  38. Stop sign red
  39. Green light go
  40. Grocery store
  41. Let’s buy bread
  42. Going home
  43. Dinner time
  44. Drink your milk
  45. Brush your teeth
  46. Fill the tub
  47. Pour it out
  48. Wash your feet
  49. Read a book
  50. Say good night

This is just 50… I could have easily made a list of several hundred, but you get the idea!

For more play-based ideas for helping your little one learn to talk, you may want to read: Help your toddler say “Thank You”Where’s the speech in speech therapy?, or Playing with… PUZZLES!

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