Do you want your child to learn a few things before you enroll him/her in preschool? In the age of competition, everyone wants the best for their child. Be it admission to a top-notch school, branded clothing, professional photoshoots, or something as simple as their out of school learning. Even before a child goes to preparatory school parents these days start to home school a lot of sense into them. The same is true for language activities. Just learning the alphabet and how to write them might not be enough for your kid in this competitive world. To get a good grasp on their pronunciations, writing skills, listening skills, and reading skills children need to have a good base of the languages right from the start.
It can be tough to make your kids understand the importance of setting good foundations for learning better in the future. But what we can do is make learning fun for them right from the start. It is your duty as a parent or teacher to build those strong foundations in a way that the child does not even realize that he is being educated. This can be done in the form of various activities. Some of the language activities for toddlers that might help them learn and understand languages better in the near and far future are described below.
9 Language Activities For Toddlers
Since times immemorial, adults have played with children by making all sorts of weird sounds. The kids also enjoy it equally. They are in awe of the sounds a human mouth can produce. Manifesting different types of sounds in front of children helps improve your child’s cognition towards the language and have an ear for sounds. When you pronounce the vowels in a stretched-out fashion, the child develops an understanding of the differences in sounds. Try and help them make as many open-mouthed sounds as they can. This helps them in the future to deduce spellings of tough words using phonetics rather than memorizing them. You can also give your vowels a twist every now and then by using guttural sounds or shrieky sounds. This will help your child learn new languages faster and pronounce them in as close an accent to the locals if he/she wishes to do so.
Rolling The Tongue
Have you ever stuck out your tongue in front of your child? Has your child tried to imitate your actions and stuck out his/her own tongue? Children love making sounds and hearing you make sounds using your mouth, throat as well as your nose. Now, it is important that the child not only understands these sounds but is able to make them as well. The best way to do that play with your child and challenge him/her to roll their tongue in different ways. Ask them to touch the top lip, touch their nose, the roof of their mouth, the bottom. This will help them roll their tongue to clearly pronounce the sounds that are needed for different languages. The Hindi alphabet is an appropriate example of this. The letters are often addressed to the part of the mouth used to pronounce them. This exercise is not only fun but sort of a mouth yoga.
Conversing In Different Languages
Are you multilingual? Do you want your child to learn even more languages? Your child is at a tremendous advantage if your family has people who are well versed in different languages. This helps the child get exposed to different languages right from the start and helps him/her learn these languages right alongside your mother tongue. For this to happen, it is very important that you use these languages when talking to the child. If you know English, Hindi, and Telugu for example, use all of these languages to talk to the child. It might initially confuse them, but gradually, they will develop an ear for each of these and understand the differences as they do for a single language. But it is important that you do not mix words of different languages in a sentence. Talk only in one language at a time.
Does your child take a hold of crayons and draw all over the floor or walls? Well, this is great! Your child is learning to write all on his own. Colors fascinate all of us, and children enjoy colors far more than us. Did you know that handing them crayons from an early age enhances their creativity? Obviously, you knew that. But crayons also have an added benefit over pens and pencils. The soft texture of crayons helps the child mold his/her fingers around it without any discomfort. This exercise will help your child find the best grip for them to handle a pen or pencil in the future. They can work with crayons for long durations of time and not get tired, but hand them a pencil and they might throw it away in 5 minutes flat. Moreover, the different colors of crayons provoke them to pick up one after the other. This builds resilience in their fingers and hands to handle the future writing workloads that they might face.
Do you love hearing songs while working or just for fun? Well, who does not? Your kid loves songs too I am sure of it. The best way you can pay attention to your child’s listening skills is by playing songs for them or by viewing channels with nursery rhymes on them. Songs or tunes get stuck better in our minds due to their pleasantness and rhythm. This is the primary reason that singing and learning is considered a great technique by many teachers. You can play audio children’s books for your child, it has the complete story with voice modulations, animal sounds, and many other features that will keep the child interested. Further, after the kid has heard the story 2-3 times over a course of few days, you can question him/her about a character’s name, the kind of sound he makes, and other easy engaging questions. You can even ask your kid to retell you the story and help him along the way whenever he gets stuck somewhere.
Pictionary / Picture Storybooks
Do you want your child to be an avid reader and associate words and pictures at an early age? This is not too difficult. The best way to do that is by reading to him from picture storybooks. These books will have large pictures and words printed in large fonts, and this will help your child form images and associate them with each other. When your child sees a particular word appearing with a particular picture, he can relate pictures and text for future reference when you use the same word. For example, this is how children begin learning what different animals look like, or what they are called. These picture books build cognitive learning capabilities in your child and help him learn faster. In the future, this would help him/her visualize whatever he/she reads and be able to go through texts at a faster pace.
Have you ever tried writing poems? Have you enjoyed it when a person answers your question in a poetic manner or ends it with a word rhyming with your sentence ending? Well, if you do, here is how you can help your child develop the same love for rhymes. If your child says something, try and use rhyming words with him/her. If you want to teach your child something and want it to stick, make a poem out of it, and yes it should rhyme and have a tune, the whole shebang. Your kid will definitely love it. Make your kid watch Disney movies, they mostly have a tune to the dialogues and lots and lots of easy to understand songs. Moreover, they are basically cartoons, so your kid would not be missing out on his/her fun as well. These cartoon movies will also help you to get in touch with rhyming again and teach your kid further. This is a really fun exercise as all you are doing is watching movies and making rhymes as you go along. This will not only improve your kid’s but your creativity as well. You can definitely show off your skills to your close ones in a game of limericks.
Does your kid love his/her toys – cars, soft toys, inanimate objects lying around the house? Does he/she treat them as live objects and often converse with them? Well, your kid is doing something right then. Encourage this activity and engage with them more on this. You can teach your kid simple prepositions, adjectives, and verbs using these toys and in different languages, if you wish to do so. You can create a story and use their toys to visualize the story for them so that they can better relate the words and actions that you use. The same stories you made your child hear on the audio, make them see it now. You can take a soft toy, keep it on top, and under another toy and visualize prepositions for your child. You can use toys of different shapes sizes and looks to teach your kid adjectives. You can also teach them verbs by putting these toys in motion. Always try and move on to a new word once you think your kid has grasped the word you were teaching earlier. Try and teach the words in pairs of opposites. This will help your kid relate and retain the words better. Keep on adding to your child’s vocabulary.
Did you get tired giving different types of language exams in school or did not even notice what they were for? You are certainly lucky if it was the latter option for you. Now, help your kid also fly through these future exams in a jiffy, be it a listening skill exam, a reading out loud exercise, or a writing competition. For your child to have a good grasp of any language, it is important that he/she can listen to it, speak it, write it, and read it well. So, you will have to focus on each of these skills individually as well as in combination. You have to make sure that your child understands each of these components of a language, else his/her education in that language would not be complete. For example, many at time we can read a language very comfortably and speak it well too, but what we struggle with listening and interpreting it. This is precisely why we need to pay attention to all aspects of the language and this is where your child will have an advantage. He/she will be used to separating these aspects when required and link them together as needed. This would help be better in spelling new words just by listening to them or pronouncing newly viewed words. He just needs to know the basic sounds of the language and he is all set to shine in the language.
We have now given you the tools to help your child and implementing these activities is as easy as playing with your child. The rest is up to you now. So, now if you engage with these language activities for toddlers, your kid will definitely have an edge over his classmates, in the language department at least. We are sure you will be able to recognize the difference between your kid and other kids. Your child will have better pronunciations, better reading capabilities, overall a better grasp over all languages that he/she learns or intends to learn in the future. These language activities will make learning fun for your kid, and who knows he/she might even enjoy studies after he/she grows up due to knowing the fun side of learning right from childhood.
Don’t forget to check out our article on Quarantine Activities For Kids. It will come handy during these times.