From Sounds to Words!

Technique 75 – As your baby’s sounds seem more like words to you, go ahead and repeat them back as words.

Your baby will love that, and you will like fostering language at the exact same time.

Six to Twelve Months

This is a transition time for your baby from sounds to words. The sounds of
“mama” and “dada” will become recognizable and gradually take on definite meaning. Other sounds you will hear will seem almost like words. You will also notice an increase in your baby’s understanding of words. That makes this time especially good for you to bring to your baby’s attention all kinds of sounds, words, music, and rhymes.


About the Activity: Life is full of sounds, and because there are so many, it is easy to miss them.

How to Play: Go on a “sounds walk.” Look for things that make a sound. Then as you find each one, describe it as best you can with words like loud, soft, ticking, and more. Here are examples of items you might find around your house: alarm clock, timer, music box, dishwasher, washing machine, a box of rice and more.

Making Words

About the Activity: If you listen carefully to your baby, you will hear lots of vocalizations that will sound like words.

How to Play: Whenever you hear your baby babble sounds that remind you of real words, say the real words back to your baby to model the correct way it should be said. A common example is the sound “wa-wa.” For that you might say, “Water.” “Oh, you want water.”


About the Activity: Your baby likes to touch whatever he or she sees. Notice the reaching out for all kinds of objects.

How to Play: Go on a “touch walk.” Touch interesting things together and then describe what you are touching. Popular describing words are hard, soft, rough, smooth, heavy, light, and more. Here are some objects that are easy to find and safe for your baby to touch: towels, pillows, napkins, paper cups, doorknobs, plastic spoons, and paper.


About the Activity: As you say favorite rhymes, encourage your baby to participate more and more. The rhyming words will actually encourage your baby’s participation.

How to Play: Select from books you have or from ones in the library some well-known rhymes and songs and say/sing them to your baby. Many of them have hand motions that you probably know. An example is “The Itsy Bitsy Spider.” The finger movements are thumb to forefinger and forefinger to thumb as you say, “The itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout.” The hand movements are moving your hands and fingers in a downward motion as you say, “Down came the rain,” and the hand movements are moving your hands from the center out as you say, “And washed the spider out.” Continue with this rhyme and then introduce others. Popular ones are “Patty Cake,” “This Little Piggy Went to Market,” “Where Is Thumbkin?” and “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” Do the hand motions with your baby’s hands and fingers as well so that he or she  can experience the motions.

Excerpted from Constructive Parenting pp. 81-83


Constructive Parenting…

Enrichment Activity:

Alphabet Sounds

About the Activity: You can match letters of the alphabet to sounds your baby makes. “Buh” is one of the first sounds and therefore gives you a nice opportunity to show your baby the letter B. “Duh” is usually the next sound and gives you the opportunity to introduce the letter D.

How to Play: On a 4” x 6” index card write with a crayon a large capital letter B. Use a dark color like blue, black, or brown so that your letter will show up well. On the back, also with a dark color crayon, write a large capital letter D. If you would like, you can laminate the card for durability. You can also hole punch the card in one corner and loop a 12” piece of yarn through the hole. Whichever side you see your baby looking at, you name. It will be either B or D. In addition, if you hear your baby say either the “Buh” or the “Duh” sound, show the correct corresponding letter and say something like “B, you said B,” or “D, you said D.” You will probably notice that your baby will quite quickly become familiar with these two letters. Once that happens, make another 4” x 6” letter card with two more consonants like K and P. If your baby can recognize other visual pictures like flowers, dogs, and houses, so he or she will be able to recognize letters. See Chapter 9 for directions for making a complete set of alphabet cards.


October! The Month of Positive Energy

More from The Magic Words of Manners


“Rrring” goes the telephone!

HELLO, the magic word.

Listen to the person

And remember what you heard.


Reply with JUST A MINUTE.

Find your mom to get the phone.

For times she cannot get it,

Take the message on your own.



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