Point out foods you see

As you shop for groceries, point out foods you see. Play with the sounds of words as you show your child the juicy red “toe-may-toes” or the long orange “care-rot.” How do they respond? When they make a sound in response, copy it.

Use hand actions with your favorite song

Use hand actions for your favorite rhyme or song, or make up your own. Face your child and hold their hands so they mirror you. Vary your tone of voice from high to low and use a big, expressive way of speaking or singing.

Sing simple songs with repetition

Help your child recognize patterns and familiar words by singing simple songs with lots of repetition or rhymes. Can’t remember one? Make up you own! Encourage them to join in by repeating the words or by adding their own ideas.

Create a Rhyme or a Rap

During meal or snacktime, create a rhyme or a rap about what your child is eating: “No slice, no dice, we eat rice!” or “You’re no rookie, eating your cookie.” They’ll enjoy the sound of the words and if they respond, make rhymes from their words too.

“Can you find it in the room?”

Draw or use your cell phone to take pictures of things in your room like a chair, a table, or the refrigerator. Ask your child to look at your cell phone picture and say, “Can you find it in the room?” As they get good at this, you can make it a little harder.

“Mail Time!”

Talk to your child about getting mail and what it means. Then write them a note or give them a piece of junk mail or store flyer and say, “Mail Time!” After they look at it, take turns talking about the letters, pictures, colors, and designs.

Pretend your hand is a plane, bird or car

With your child on their back, fly your hand above their face. Pretend your hand is a plane, a bird, or a car. Talk about what you’re doing. Tell a story, make sounds, or sing. Do they grab your fingers, watch your hands move, or kick? Try different ideas to find what they like best.

Fill in the blanks

Fill in the blanks to make up a story: “We’re going to ___. When we get there we’ll see ___.” As your child gets in the rhythm, take turns going back and forth. Is your story realistic? Make believe? There is no right or wrong, just have fun!

Use many words to describe

Ask your child to touch the clothes you’re both wearing. Talk back and forth about how they feel. You could say, “We’re both wearing shirts. Mine is smooth and yours is wrinkled.” Take turns using as many words as you can to describe how your clothes feel.