1 to 2 years old: Naming Objects Starting with the Same Phonetic Sounds In a basket or a drawstring bag collect from around the house five real or real-looking miniature objects, each starting with the same phonetic sound. Ideas: insects, fruit, vegetables, farm animals, clothing, household items, musical instruments, plants, etc. For example, five objects starting with the b sound (pronounced “buh”): button, basket, bubbles, bear. Explore the basket/bag with your child, by looking, touching, playing and saying the names of the objects. Make sure you explain at the beginning of the activity that the objects in the pictures start with the same sound; speak slowly and clearly. The activity can remain available for the rest of the week, and next week you can change the sound.
2 to 3 years old: Naming Pictures Starting with the Same Phonetic Sounds Print pictures of objects or you may use cards if you have, each starting with the same phonetic sound. Ideas: insects, fruit, vegetables, farm animals, jungle animals, clothing, household items, musical instruments, plants, etc. For example, five objects starting with the b sound (pronounced “buh”): button, basket, bubbles, bear. Explore the pictures/cards with your child, by saying the names of the objects.
Make sure you explain at the beginning of the activity that the objects in the pictures start with the same sound; speak slowly and clearly. The activity can remain available for the rest of the week, and next week you can change the sound.
Naming Parts of the Body
1 to 2 years old: Naming Ten Basic Parts of the Body All you need is your child. Sit down facing your toddler. Begin by touching the top of your head. As you touch, describe what you are doing. Speak quietly and pause before you name the part you are touching. Then ask your child to repeat the word. For example, say “I am touching my… head. Head. Now you touch your head.” Look into your child’s eyes and speak slowly and clearly. Continue, moving from the top of the body to the bottom, until you have touched and named all ten body parts. You may start with five body parts, as some young toddlers may not be ready to focus on ten new words at one time.
Extension 1: Make this a social activity by involving the siblings. Extension 2: As the child acquires skill and experience, vary the order in which you present the parts of the body. From example, move from bottom to the top. Extension 3: Add words for other body parts, such as cheek, chin, forehead, elbow, wrist, ankle, waist, back, neck, etc.
2 to 3 years old: Naming Parts of the Human Body Use the activity presented above. Once your child can name all of his body parts, use a doll to name its body parts. Extension 1: Make a large poster of your child’s body. Ask the child to lie down on a large piece of paper. Trace the outline of the child’s body. With the child, name the parts he/she knows, then draw lines to separate one part from another. The child could color each part, or glue wool on for hair, pieces of fabric for clothes, etc. Extension 2: Introduce songs and games that request touching and naming body parts. Examples include games like “Simon Says” and songs like “If You’re Happy and You Know It” or “Head, Shoulder, Knees and Toes”.
Naming Pictures in a Book
1 to 2 years old: Naming Pictures in a Book You will need a simple book containing six pictures of real-life objects or people, no cartoon characters; to start with, choose pictures that can be described by a word of one syllable. Examples: mat, pen, ball, tent, dog. Invite the child to look at the book with you. Turn the first page and touch the first picture, naming it. Speak slowly and clearly. Continue until you have named and touched all pictures in the book.
Start again and this time invite the child to say the word too. For example: “Look. This is a ball. Now you say ball”. Do not correct the child, what is important is that she hears the word and tries to say it. As the child acquires experience and skill in recognizing and naming the pictures in the book, change it to a different one with pictures that can be described by words of two syllables. Examples: balloon, tulip, pancake, etc.
Once you know what objects the toddler can identify, ask her to name objects in books you look at together.
Becoming Familiar with Letters and Their Sounds 2 to 3 years old: Becoming Familiar with Letters and Their Sounds This activity is not intended for the child to name letters, but to begin to understand that letters represent sounds. In the Montessori preschool program, lowercase letters and the sounds of the letters are presented first, before capital letters and the names of letters. If your child is interested in naming letters, as much as possible present their sounds rather than their names. You can make your sound boxes from any kind of box, preferably wooden ones, with lid.
On the lid, use a thick marker to clearly print a lowercase letter of the alphabet. Inside the box, place several small objects that start with the phonetic sound represented by the letter on the lid. Examples: inside the p box (the sound “puh”) you could place a small plastic pig, a peg, a little pen, etc. Start by placing the box in front of you and your toddler. Pick up the box, trace the letter on the lid slowly with your finger, and say the sound. Remove the lid and take out one of the items in the box, hold it and name it. One by one, take the other items out, name them, and line them up horizontally on the mat, if you are using one. Make sure to emphasize the first sound in each word. Return the objects to the box, place the lid on, and invite your child to do the activity. Offer your help and guidance. Make sure that the materials stay available for the child to work on again when she wishes. You can make boxes for all the letters in the alphabet.