Two Can Learn Better than One!

Tags: vocabulary

Cabbage from the Cobbler?

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Learning Play, Kids Activities , Tags: role play, shops, vocabulary

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These days we can get everything we need from the supermarket whether it be food, medicine, photos, or cabbages but more and more people are trying to make the effort to shop locally from small independent shops rather than faceless supermarkets. Here's an idea for an activity to try and remind children (or teach them for the first time) that different produce used to (and still can!) come from different shops other than the supermarket.  Here are a few new shops to introduce:

  • Butcher - selling meat
  • Baker - selling bread
  • Greengrocer - selling fruit and vegetables
  • Pharmacist - selling medicines
  • Cobbler - shoe mender
  • Ironmonger - selling hardware and tools
  • Grocer - selling food
  • Off License - selling wine and drinks
  • Haberdashery - selling fabric and ribbons
  • Florist - selling flowers

Find a few items that might be sold in the above stores and try to learn the vocabulary together.  Play shops and be the different shop keepers selling their various wares.  It's all good practice and good fun!

Baby Babble And How To Encourage Talking

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Babies, Learning Play, Child Development , Tags: babble, baby, chat, learnings, noises, speech, vocabulary, words

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Babbling is not just a load of nonsensical rubbish that babies produce, it is actually an important part of verbal development and without it talking would just never happen.  Most baby's develop at a similar rate and you can spot the changes as follows:-

  • Month 3 - this is the month when babbling and cooing and gurgling usually starts.  It becomes apparent to the baby that everyone likes it (because we all laugh and encourage it) so they do it more and more!
  • Month 6 - they will babble in conversation like a grown-up might.  They watch and copy and imitate as much as they can.
  • Month 9 - they can actually imitate the noises they hear and copy the adults and children around.

How to get your little one talking

By interacting with your baby, you can encourage your baby to learn to talk and to learn words and their meanings:-

  • Make your voice and facial expression seem encouraging.  Lots of smiles and praise to show you are happy with them and give them more confidence to do it again.
  • Try making baby babble back to your child and see whether they enter into a "conversation" with you.
  • Do some proper talking with them too: point to things and name them.
  • Use different voices as well as your normal voice to get their attention.
  • Sing songs, do rhymes and read books together - no matter how young the children are.
  • Use props too if you can when signing (animals for Old MacDonald's Farm etc.)
  • Use tools when chatting: baby microphone, toy telephone etc.

Reading Comprehension for Little Ones

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Learning Play, Parenting, Kids Activities , Tags: pictures, questions, reading, understanding, vocabulary, words

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Reading to your little ones is such an important activity, but the youngest children will only pick out sounds that they are beginning to understand as words.  The act of reading to them allows them to hear words over and over and slowly they will begin to distinguish the different words.  In time, they will learn their meaning.  In no time at all you'll have a preschooler who has a broad vocabulary, understanding thousands of words.

To encourage hearing and learning words, you can make reading fun by asking questions at the end of each page as you read to them.  Read each page to your children and then ask them questions specific to what is happening in the pictures or the story.  If you are reading to several children then make sure they all get a turn, and ask questions appropriate to their age and understanding.  Your children will begin to widen their vocabulary, hearing the words repeated in a similar context.  Make sure that even the youngest are asked their own question, even if it is as simple as 'Where is the sky?', 'Point to something that is red', or 'What animal goes [suitable animal noise]?!'.

Reading to your little ones is one of the most valuable exercises you can undertake during their first few years.  Encourage a passion for reading and books and their learning will become so much easier later on.  The more you can create an interest in books by making stories interesting and fun, then the better in the longer term for your little ones!

Language is Key to your Child's Development

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Babies, Parenting, Child Development , Tags: chatting, communication, language, learning to speak, talking, vocabulary

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How do babies and toddlers learn to speak and acquire the knowledge to form sentences and become fluent communicators?  Is it a natural skill they acquire or do they need help?  Certainly children begin to learn to speak from the very day they are born.  However, it is up to parents, to make sure they provide the children with the very best opportunity to learn to speak and communicate well.

How do they learn?

  • Talk To Them - A mother who chats to her baby from the very first day, while feeding or walking or changing the nappy, is doing a great job to encourage good spoken language.  Babies learn by hearing the spoken word and repeating and learning it for themselves.
  • Show Them - Parents that discuss things in front of their children demonstrate the use of language and show the children how to discuss and communicate as adults.
  • Play with Them - Have toy telephones to play with and set up pretend conversations.  Chat about all sorts of easy things and encourage chatter.
  • Share with Them - Families that have discussions over a meal share in the joy of eating and talking.  Simply asking what happened at school or nursery today can be the simple question that leads to a great family chat!

Types of Language

By nine months, babies can understand simple words and commands ('stop', 'come here', etc.) even if they can't speak the words themselves. This is because there are 2 types of language knowledge: Receptive and Expressive language.  When we listen we use our receptive vocabulary, when we speak or write we use our expressive vocabulary.

A child's passive vocabulary is improved through continuous repetition of words and phrases.  Once repeated enough it becomes part of their passive vocabulary.  So, the active vocabulary can only be improved through use of the passive. A child has to hear a word 500 times before it becomes part of their active vocabulary, so a parent needs to speak as much as they can to their children and in front of their children.


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Hi! I'm Tikal the Toucan, the mascot for ToucanLearn. Follow my blog to find out interesting things relating to babies, toddlers and preschool children!

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