You can start promoting language skills with your little one as soon as they are born! The best way to do this is to talk to them a lot! Make sure you talk to them about what you are doing (ex. “Now I’m making dinner. I’m cooking chicken and rice tonight.) and about what they are doing (ex. “I see you kicking your leg” or “You like sticking out your tongue”). It’s also important to label the items they are playing with (ex. ball, rattle, cube). When your baby begins to coo and babble, make sure to encourage these outputs by making the same sounds back to him. This helps promote turn-taking, a precursor to conversation. There are so many wonderful baby toys on the market that it may be difficult to decide which ones can be positive influences on your child’s language skills. Here is a list of five of my favorite baby toys for language development (0-6 months).
5 Best Baby Toys for Language Development
1. Monkey Mirror
This floor-time mirror is wonderful for promoting language skills with your infant. Get down on the floor with your little one and practice making silly faces. See if your baby imitates you. You can also make sounds and funny noises while looking at the mirror.
2. Activity Cube
This activity cube is a favorite of my 4-month-old! On each side of the cube is a different animal. I like to label the animals and the sounds they make to my baby. The cube is also very tactile and sensory, so it’s great to keep your little one’s interest for at least a couple of minutes! It also has a small mirror on one side, which is great for making silly faces.
3. Activity Gym
Infants love activity gyms and for good reasons! They are entertaining to look at, as well as, swing and kick at the hanging objects. It’s a great activity to get on the floor with your baby and talk about the hanging objects and your baby’s actions (ex. “You like kicking the owl!”).
4. Water Mat
A water mat is another great item to keep your little one engaged and get a jump start on language development. This mat is great to use during tummy time and has many colors and objects to talk to your child about while he is playing!
5. Soft Books
It’s NEVER too early to start reading to your baby. Reading books is one of the most natural ways for your child to learn language skills. This set of books is great to introduce your baby to simple vocabulary and begin to observe how you hold the book and turn the pages.
Please remember that working on language development at this early age should be done in a naturalistic way. This can be accomplished by talking to your child about his/her actions, singing nursery rhymes, playing with age-appropriate toys, and reading books. Enjoy this special time with your baby and know that that they are absorbing so much language already at this early age.