Top Activities that Encourage Language Development from Birth to Three

Young child learning the English alphabet

Top Activities that Encourage Language Development from Birth to Three

Milestone moments are the incredible achievements and skills that children reach during their early years from birth to three. These little triumphs may seem small, but they play a massive role in a child’s development. 

From smiling for the first time to taking the first steps, each milestone is a step forward in their journey of growth.

Language development is crucial for children birth to three because it forms the foundation for communication and learning throughout their lives. During these early years, children’s brains are like sponges, absorbing and processing information rapidly, making it the perfect time to promote language skills through fun and engaging activities.

You may ask yourself, “What can I do to help my child’s language development?” Let’s take a look at the top activities that foster language development for your child.

While children develop differently, these are examples of common milestones your child may reach during these times.

2 months

Milestone: At 2 months old, your baby starts making sounds other than crying and reacts to loud sounds.

Activities to do with your child:

  • Get excited, smile, and talk to your baby when they make sounds. 
    • Baby: Makes sounds
    • You: “Hi baby, are you happy today?”
    • Baby: More sounds
    • You: (Excitedly), “Wow look at you! You are so smart, you have so much to say today! ”
  • Sing a song to your baby like, “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.”

4 months

Milestone: At 4 months old, your baby can make cooing sounds and turn their head towards the sound of your voice.

Activities to do with your child:

  • Copy your baby’s sounds and have a conversation with them. See how long they can go back and forth with you. If they babble, gesture, or cry, respond with eye contact, words, or a hug. This back and forth is referred to as a “Serve and Return” interaction, which can support brain development and communication skills.
  • Call your baby by their name. “Hi Asher!”, “Are you ticklish, Asher?”, “Oh, you are so silly, Asher!” 

6 months

Milestone: At 6 months, your baby will take turns making sounds with you, blow “raspberries”,  and make squealing noises.

Activities to do with your child:

  • Read to them. Look at pictures and talk about them. Respond to your baby when they make noise. “Yes, that is a lion!”
  • Talk to your baby about new things and name them. “Look over there, that’s a tree, and that’s a car!”

9 months

Milestone: At 9 months old, your baby will make sounds like, “Mamamama” and, “Bababababa”. They will also lift their arms up to be picked up.

Activities to do with your child:

  • Repeat your baby’s sounds and say simple words using those sounds. If your baby says, “Bababa” you say, “Baby”.
  • Read to your baby, name the pictures you see, and point to them.

1 year

Milestone: At 1 year old, your child will be able to wave, “Bye-bye”, call a parent, “Mama” or, “Dada,” and understand, “No.”

Activities to do with your child:

  • Sing or talk to your child about what you are doing. “Mama is putting on your shoes.”
  • Build on what your child is trying to say. If they say, “Da” say, “Yes, a dog!” or if they say, “Dog”, say, “Yes, look! That is a big, brown dog!”

15 months

Milestone: At 15 months old, your child should try to say one or two words besides, “Mama” or, “Dada,” like, “Da” for dog, and look at a familiar object when you name it.

Activities to do with your child:

  • Help your child try to speak. They may say, “Ba,” meaning ball. You can say, “Ball. Yes, that is a ball”.
  • Point to objects and say their names. If your child makes a sound, acknowledge them. “Banana. Yes! Banana”

18 months

Milestone: At 18 months old, your child will try to say three or more words and follow one-step directions without any gestures.

Activities to do with your child:

  • Teach your child more words by adding to what they say. If they say, “Cat” say, “Yes that is a cat. They say ‘meow’.”
  • Teach them names for body parts by pointing them out. “This is your foot. This is my foot” and point.

2 years

Milestone: When your child turns 2 years old, they can point to objects in a book when you ask, like finding the bear. They will also start saying at least two words together, such as, “More milk,” and using more gestures like blowing kisses or nodding to show understanding.

Activities to do with your child:

  • Help your child learn how words sound. If they say, “Nana” say, “Do you want a banana?”
  • Sing, “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” to teach the names of body parts with gestures.

30 months

Milestone: When children reach 30 months old, they can say around 50 words and start putting two or more words together. They can also use words like, “I,” “Me,” or “We” to express themselves.

Activities to do with your child:

  • Use descriptive words when talking to your child. For example, say words like big, small, fast, and slow when talking to your child.
  • Ask your child to name colors, body parts, or animals.

3 years

Milestone: When children turn 3 years old, they can have conversations with you using at least two back-and-forth exchanges. They also start asking questions like “Who,” “What,” “Where,” or “Why,” such as, “Where is mommy?”

Activities to do with your child:

  • Read with your child and ask questions. “What will happen next?” or, “What is happening in that picture?”
  • Teach your child to sing songs or rhymes like, “Itsy Bitsy Spider” or, “The Wheels On The Bus.”

Help your child develop their language skills with the activities listed above! By participating in enjoyable and straightforward activities, you can play a crucial role in your baby’s language development, setting them up for a lifetime of successful communication and learning.

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