From birth to one year of age, your child is imitating movements, sounds, etc. Although they may not be speaking verbally, they make their needs known by producing sounds, crying, and gesturing. This is why it is beneficial to introduce baby sign language to your little one. It allows your child to communicate in another way and also reduces frustration. Research has shown that learning signs early on encourages word production. Some of our favorite signs are: hi, milk, more, hungry, jump, ball, dog/cat, etc. Categories include: actions words, animals, daily routines, feelings/emotions, food, manners/behavior, and nature. The signs are very easy to remember and clear instructions are given.
One of the first simple games our children learn to play is “peekaboo”. This app encourages that turn-taking and focuses on 4 specific categories – farm animals, ocean animals, wild animals, and vehicles. The visuals are amazing and it is great for promoting cause and effect skills.
A fantastic way to learn language is to sing! Repeating songs during playtime, mealtime, bath time, etc. provides your child with the opportunity to initiate familiar lines such as “E-I-E-I-O”, “B-I-N-G-O”, etc. Altogether it includes 16 classic nursery rhymes with 3D animation. The lyrics are seen on the bottom, as well as a basic game where the child can tap to increase eye-hand and ear coordination.
It’s never too early to expose your child to other languages! This can be done in a simple way by introducing them to the alphabet in 7 different languages – English, Italian, French, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish, and Hebrew. It is based on the Carousel Teaching System, which emphasizes learning via verbal, visual, and tactile association. Interactive coloring and audio activities are also included as well as tips for parents for additional learning opportunities!
This app was designed by a speech pathologist and is basically interactive flashcards. Children simply swipe with their finger to get to the next card – words are written, spoken, and illustrated. It starts off with high impact words, goes onto expanding meaning by changing intonation, and targets vocabulary such as objects, actors and actions, etc. Children learn to develop early syntax by learning to combine 2 words.
Searching for an app that is great for a long car ride? This one not only encourages word and sound effect production, but also targets shape recognition and motor activity. There are a total of 44 pictures to choose from and all your child has to do is drag and drop a picture to complete the puzzle. If a child has difficulty with a puzzle piece, an arrow appears after the third try.
You baby will enjoy many games in one with this app! In one of them the cute little monkey shows a range of feelings that your child can label and laugh at (eg – happy, tired, surprised, sad) – perfect for imitation of facial expressions. The foundation of imitating words and speaking is imitating facial expressions, gestures, and motor movements! Then, there is a scene of a house, which includes a car that beeps, bird that tweets, etc. Lastly, there is a page that has animal animations, shapes, fireworks, and even a xylophone!
Your child can do lots of learning using this interactive familiar song! Target action words such as “open”, “shut”, and sound effects (e.g. – baby crying). It provides your child with hours of fun and includes a memory matching game, vehicle puzzles, happy bus math, horn piano, car race, coloring book, bus ride, tap the car/tiny train game, and more!
This app is great for labeling animals, practicing sound effects, following directions, and teaching your child actions words such as “blow” and “pop”. You can even target adjectives such as “big”. All you have to do is blow into the microphone on your iPhone (or swipe with your iPod Touch/iPad), watch the balloon inflate, shake your device, and voila – a balloon animal is created! You can even touch your balloon animals to see what other movements it can make!
Created by a fellow speech pathologist, Feed Maxi is an app that promotes expressive/receptive language, pragmatic language (e.g. – requesting, commenting, etc.), following directions, sign language, and pretend play among many other skills. Children learn language by doing, so feeding the adorable hungry monkey is the perfect opportunity to promote word production (e.g. – more banana!). The app contains 80 different food items in 5 categories (e.g. – fruits, vegetables, protein/dairy, grains, and snacks). Data collection is also available to review your child’s progress.
Remember the toy we had as a child that you would spin and it would land on an animal? Here is the 21st century version! Your child can use his or her finger to turn the spinner. Just like in the older version, when it stops at an animal it produces the animal sound, which your child can imitate and it goes onto a video dedicated to that animal. There is a total of 48 videos that come with fun facts. We recommend all of the Fisher Price apps in general!
When your children are able to act out the actions such as feeding the animals they are more apt to learn language such as “eat”, “more”, animals names, etc. A variety of animals are used such as a lion, ape, chameleon, giraffe, hippo, whale, crocodile, crab, bird, and a penguin. Another skill to target includes labeling foods and other common objects. You can even create your own food and take pictures in a photo booth! We highly recommend the other interactive Lazoo apps as well.
This is perfect for kiddos that cannot color yet. It also teaches them basic cause and effect skills – when I perform an action, something else happens. All they have to do is take their finger and wipe off the black. The illustrations that appear are beautiful and promote labeling of familiar objects and colors!