Even when not able to speak yet, an infant is a capable communicator. They can communicate without words using body language and gestures. While infants’ language development develops at their own pace, there are things you can do to help your infant. Here, we will tell you about some infant activities for language development.
What Activities are Suitable for Language Development?
Before we proceed to infant activities for language development, there are two things you should now. First, when it comes to language and literacy, “teaching” a very young child is not necessary.
Formal classes or any other activities that push infants and toddlers to read and write words don’t help their development. Nor such activities make them do better at school.
In fact, such activities can be counterproductive as they push children to do things beyond their skills or things that they don’t enjoy doing.
Especially for language development, you don’t have to force your baby to be able to talk as soon as possible. Just encourage your baby to talk by doing stimulation.
This relates to our second point: the best way for infants to learn the early language and literacy skills is through the day to day activities. That’s right. Activities like talking, playing together, reading books, laughing, and the likes.
Language and Literacy Activities for Infants and Toddlers
Language and literacy are two different yet related skills. One is built on another. As a parent, the following are activities you can do to help your baby learn language and literacy skills (from 0 to 12 months).
Describe your baby’s feelings and what she experiences
For example, if you see your baby is hungry, you can say things like: “You are nuzzling at me. You are telling me that you are hungry now. Alright, your milk coming right up!”
She will not understand these words, at least not right away. However, the tone of your voice and your caring actions will make her understood. Over time as you do it over and over, she will understand what those words mean.
Imitate her and encourage her to imitate you
Copy the sounds that your baby makes and encourage her to imitate you.
Play back-and-forth games
Hand an item like a softball or a rattle to your baby. Then, see if she will hand it back to you. See if the item can go back-and-forth between you and your baby a few times. This kind of game is a practice for your baby for how to have a conversation in the future.
Yes, peek-a-boo is one of the infant activities for language development, too. Try hiding behind a pillow, a scarf, or a book and play the game. This turn-taking game is a good practice for having a conversation in the future.
Read books together
There are many benefits of reading books together. Among these benefits is that reading books introduces books to your baby and make her familiar with them.
Later on, it can help to develop a love of reading, too. Also, when you read the books aloud, your baby hears new words, thus improving her vocabulary.
When you read stories, you can make reading even more fun by using different voices for different characters. Babies like when adults are silly, after all.
Read it her way
That’s correct. Let her “read” the book the way she likes. She may only sit still after turning the book pages quickly, “reading” a few pages, or as quick as looking a single picture and be done with it.
Just make sure that reading becomes a positive experience for her. Doing so will nurture your baby’s love of literacy early.
Repeat, repeat, and repeat
Babies learn through repetition. Why? Because repetition gives them many opportunities to “figure things out.” When your baby tells you that she is interested in a picture or a book, allow her to see the picture or hear the story from the book over and over.
The Stages of Child Developments Best Guide for Parents
There are parent-child infant activities for language development as well. These are activities you and your baby can do together for promoting language development in infants and toddlers:
Touch some new textures
For this, you need to prepare different fabrics. You can use nylon, cotton, lace, corduroy, and so on. Gather together small squares of these fabrics. Make a hole through each fabric square. Tie these squares together using a ribbon.
Alternatively, you can stitch the squares together at the corner. Choose whichever is the most convenient for you.
Now you get a fabric “book.” Let your baby touch it. Then, talk to her about how each the texture of each fabric feels. See if your baby has a favorite fabric “page.”
Yes, singing songs. Not ordinary songs, though. By songs here we mean songs that can go along with hand movements. These “fingerplays” songs help babies to develop their fingers coordination as well as develop muscle strength. These, later on, will help them to write and draw.
One of the most popular “fingerplays” songs is Pat-a-Cake, which involves hand-clapping, rolling one hand over another, and patting thighs.
Other popular songs are The Wheels on the Bus, and Where is Thumbkin. Sing different songs to your baby, move your hands, and teach your baby to move her hands as you sing. See if she has a favorite song.
Make a photo album
Yes, a photo album can promote language and literacy, too. Collect the photos of your baby as well as the important people in her life. Glue the photos on a 4 x 6 index cards.
Make sure that the cards are sturdy so they last lost. On each card, make a hole in its upper left corner. Prepare a short piece of yarn and tie the photos together.
Share this small book with your baby. Your baby will love seeing a book filled with photos of her and the people she loves.
To make it more fun, talk about her and the people in the photos, too. You can also play games that stimulate language development to make it better.
These are some infant activities for language development. Also, keep in mind that infants learn at a different pace. That’s right. Your infant might learn at a different pace than other infants. The most important thing about the activities above is that they are fun and enjoyable for both of you. On one hand, your infant learns. On the other, you are having fun with these activities.