First Words: Books, toys and apps to help your child say them!
We've put together a collection of our favourite resources that you can use at home to help encourage your child's first words.
To keep your child engaged, we recommend lift-the-flap books; thicker, cardboard pages also help develop your child's motor skills by encouraging them to eventually turn the pages for you (they're also a lot more durable!).
Toys and Play
Playing with your child, whether it's with a toy or without, can pique their interest and offer opportunities to practice a wide range of first words. It can also help build familiarity with turn-taking.
Practice words like: ball; bounce; push; me; you; down; kick; pass; go
Practice words like: bubble; blow; pop; open; up; down; more, wet
Animal figurines (or animals in books)
Practice words like: cow; moo; dog; puppy; woof; cat; meow; pig; oink; pink; horse; neigh; sheep; baa
Practice words like: beep-beep; car; push; go; wee; up; down; vroom
Practice words like: mmm; yum; drink; eat; milk; apple; banana; please; more; etc.
Baby/Doll and related items
Practice words like: baby; milk; bottle; eat; walk; boots; sleep; goodnight
Practice words like: head; eyes; nose; ears; mouth; hands; feet; shoes; hat; on; off
For first words, we typically recommend non-digital activities. It is also important to remember that the recommendation is no screen time for infants under 18 months, and less than one hour of screen time for toddlers aged 2-3. For those limited screen time interactions, however, phones, tablets and computers can offer opportunities to enrich your child's language development! Check out these apps to supplement other forms of learning.
By using My PlayHome with your child, you can move different items throughout rooms and pair them with family members. Encourage your child to practice common words they'll use around the house while also introducing pronouns like "she" or "mine".
100 words for Babies & Toddlers is a fun way to teach vocabulary to children up to 4 years old. Animations and voice overs help introduce little ones to a range of subjects like animals, the outdoors, bath time, clothes and more.
Touch, Look, Listen - My First Words is an app by StoryToys that takes you through a customizable 3D pop-up book. It offers 100 vocabulary words and simple prompts you can ask your child (i.e. "Tap on the cat"). The app also has an option for second language learning.
We hope the resources we've listed will inspire new ways for you to help your child learn their first words. Have any suggestions we haven't listed? Let us know in the comments! You can also check out our blog posts on baby sign or speech milestones from ages 1 to 5 for more information about language acquisition.
This post was made with contributions from Speech Language Pathologists Ibtissam Mustaq and Joanne Curia.
Andalusia Speech Therapy has four clinics in Ontario and offers virtual therapy to anywhere in the world. Contact us more for information.