Is your baby saying words yet?
If not, start with sounds as sounds are much easier to imitate than words. Learning sounds is a precursor to learning language so start with the basics.
You can make animal noises, silly noises, play sounds and environmental noises.
Once your baby can make different sounds and noises, then begin with the imitation of words.
When you hear a sound, draw your child’s attention to it. Say “Listen, I hear that,” and look to where the sound is coming from and point to your ear to show them that you are listening for a sound. Verbally imitate or recreate the sound to help your child figure out where the sound is coming from, for example a dog barking or the vroom vroom of a car.
Begin by picking a sound or two to target. Incorporate the sound into play or when reading books together. Pair the sound with a gesture, facial expression or sign so they have multiple forms of support.
Keep it fun!
Songs like Baa Baa Black Sheep, Old MacDonald, Horsey Horsey
Point out the animals when reading a book
Pretend to be the animals
Practice animal noises during nappy changes
Environmental sounds are everywhere, from a bird tweeting outside to a heart beating
Environmental sounds are a great way to find something new to talk about, use words you might not use otherwise in a normal conversation, and encourage exploration with your toddler
Draw their attention to things that make noise such as cars, doorbells, the wind blowing in the trees
It is important to remember that many of these sounds also carry a particular purpose or meaning. For example, when your child hears the pinger go off on the microwave, they need to know the next step is to open it and take out the food. You could try a prompt such as “Shall we see who is knocking at the door?"
Expose your child to sounds of different levels and talk about them. Find or create sounds that are louder such as doors slamming and those that are quieter such as the ticking of a clock
When your child begins to make or respond to environmental sounds, set up games and listening activities that they can do when they hear a sound. For example; racing: Push the cars down a racing track when you blow a whistle or a wake up game: A doll or person “wakes up” when they hear an alarm ring
Sticking out tongue and wiggling it in and out of the mouth (we call this the lizard!)
Play sounds are huge when trying to help a child become verbal
Play sounds include: fake coughing, panting like a dog, snoring, slurping,
Try saying "ah" into an empty toilet roll or container