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As parents, we absolutely cannot wait to hear our child talk. Around 12 months or so, you may hear your little one say their first true, meaningful word like “mama”, “dada” or “bye-bye”. By 18 months, babies have about 50 words they can say and begin to make word combinations such as “no mama” or “more eat”. It’s what’s called the “vocabulary explosion.” I can’t wait until our little Sweet Pea is old enough to talk to us. In the meantime, we are enjoying every bit of babbling and vocalization she uses!

Even though Sweet Pea can’t talk to us yet, we still play fun games to teach these early words and concepts. Here are some fun things we do:

HI/BYE-BYE

Mirror fun: I get out my big therapy mirror but any kind of mirror will do. Sweet pea and I sit in front of it and I say “hi” and “bye-bye” and we wave at each other. Sometimes Sweet Pea chimes in and says “iiiii”.

Games with toys: Whenever we start playing with a new toy, I say “hi toy” (dog, book, or whatever the toy is). When we are done with toys and putting them away, I say “bye toy.”

Toy Telephone: Mama pretends someone is on the phone and says “hi” and “bye.”

MORE

Food: When Sweet Pea is eating solids, I try to pause after each bite and say, “Do you want more?” Then I give her some more. Sometimes I sign “more” as well. She’s starting to make her own little sign for “more” in between bites. So cute!

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Bubbles: Sweet Pea LOVES bubbles! I always pause and say or sign “more” before I blow another bubble.

Building blocks: We haven’t really done this since Sweet Pea does not really stack blocks yet; she just kind of examines and chews on them! But, you could totally teach “more” while building towers. Give your child one block at a time and wait for an attempt at “more” before giving him or her the next one.

Swings: We try to walk to the community park most nights and Sweet Pea gets to ride on the swing. I’ll stop it ever so often and look at her and say “Do you want more?” Often times she smiles and does her little “more” sign.

NO

Lift the flap books: Sweet Pea really likes books, especially flap books. When you lift the flap, you can ask a no question such as “Is that a cat? No, it’s a doggie.”

Puzzles: Put a puzzle piece where it doesn’t belong and ask, “Does it fit here? No, I don’t think it goes there.”

ALL DONE

Food: When Sweet Pea finishes her snack or meal, I show her the bowl and say “all done”. Sometimes I sign it as well.

Bath: After her bath, I say “all done” and take her out of the tub.

STOP

Music and movement toys: you can watch for when the music on the toys stop and say “stop”.

Swings: I’ve done this on swings as well. When we are done on the swing, I either say “stop” or “all done.” Sweet Pea absolutely loves her swing rides!

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These are just some of the fun things Sweet Pea and I do at home! What are some things you do with your little one to encourage early words?