3 Natural Environments to Help Develop a Toddler’s Language.

Children will learn language naturally and easily when the words an adult use are used in context and when the child is actually carrying out the action.

1. The Playground
The language that can be provided in the playground is:
• Up / Down the steps: ‘up, up, up’ OR “1,2,3,4………..”
• Across the bridge: ‘click, clack, click, clack”
• Down the slide: ‘ready steady go….” Pause in between the count so the child has time to join in”.
• Down the fireman pole: “wrap your legs around the pole, hang on tight, down, down down”.
• On the swing: “legs out/ legs under” OR “lean forward / lean back” as the child swings back and forth.

2. The Beach
• With a bucket and spade: “dig”, “in”, “full”, “pat it down”, “tip”, “bang”, “lift the bucket off”, “find some shells/ sticks/ seaweed”, “decorate the sandcastle”, “dig a tunnel”, “scoop out the sand”, “jump on”
• Jump over the waves.
• Kick your legs
• Ball: “throw”, “catch”, “kick hard”

3. The Shops
Pop the toddler in the trolley so that they are at eye level.
• Name the fruit and vegetables as you select them. Model the names and encourage your child to repeat the words. Count the apples etc as you put them in the bag. Pass the food to your child so they can feel it and have them put it in the trolley. Ask them questions: “Would you like a banana or an apple?”
“Do you think mummy/ daddy would like chicken tonight?”
Pass your child tins, cheese, ice-cream, toilet paper etc and name the items as you pass them to your child.
• Take them for a baby chino and cake. Sit and chat with them. This teaches them to engage in conversation.

When you go back home, playing with plastic food and having a tea party reinforces the language that was used at the shops.