‘Play That Develops Language’ is the third in this series of four Baby Play articles.

Making and listening to sounds is the beginning of language skills for a baby.  Every sound is new to a tiny baby, some sounds will soothe and some may frighten him.  Let baby hear different sounds by varying the tone of your voice when you talk to him/her or sing, hum or whistle.

Sing or chant simple nursery rhymes like ‘Humpty Dumpty’.  Add finger movements as you sing ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’ or ‘Incy Wincy Spider’ or put actions to ‘Row, Row, Row Your Boat’.

Play games like ‘Peek a Boo’ or touching games such as ‘Round And Round The Garden’.

Play different styles of music to your baby.  Put shakers, rattles and musical toys into the toy collection.  Encourage baby to make sounds with safe things from around your home like a spoon and saucepan.

To start a conversation with your baby, first get eye contact then talk to baby.  Baby may mouth a reply or make some sounds.  Repeat the sounds, babble or talk back and a conversation will soon be underway.

Late in baby’s first year, develop a vocabulary by naming familiar objects.  Use baby’s name often in conversation, songs and story telling.  Share your love of books together.  Chose some washable books for baby to play with alone.

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