Library Finds

The Columbus Metropolitan Library – Main Branch is now open to the public! We spent time in the new children’s section looking through the new collection. We chose a variety of books to add to our weekly library haul. Below I have shared some of the ways to search for books the next time you are at the library.

“Reading makes all other learning possible. We have to get books into our children’s hands early and often.” – President Barack Obama

Let your child take the lead by choosing books to add to your library haul. When your child is given the opportunity to choose a book, she will be more motivated to read and attentive when being read to. These bookshelves found at the New Main library give even the smallest reader the opportunity to pick out books. The lower shelf was at the perfect level for baby girl to make a decision. The bins above display the books in a stack with the covers facing out that invite the child to flip through easily to make a choice based on the cover, not the spine.


Do not be afraid to be silly when reading! Find a few books that incorporate silly sounds. Using sound effects (animals/vehicles/nonsense sounds) during story time will help increase and maintain your child’s attention to the book. Give your child the opportunity to join in on the fun by imitating the sounds or waiting to see if your child will initiate a sound on her own. This tip is especially beneficial to a new talker. Nonsense sounds are often easier to produce and imitate than true words.

Some of our favorite “noisy” stories:

“We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” by Michael Rosen

“Be Quiet, Mike!” By Leslie Patricelli

“The Book with No Pictures” By B.J. Novack


Pick out some books with repetitive text! We love the repetition of the text found in “The Napping House.” We were excited to find Audrey Wood’s newest story, “The Full Moon at the Napping House,” during our last library visit. Reading stories with repetition help children understand language and how stories are put together. The language patterns in the story will give your child the chance to anticipate what will happen next and expose your child to the same words appearing over and over. When reading a repetitive/predictable book, simply read through the story first to help the child become familiar with the text. After finishing the book, immediately re-read the story. When reading the story a second time, pause before the last word of the repeated phrase. For example in “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” say, “Brown bear, brown bear, what do you…,” and then wait for the child to verbalize, “See.”

Some of our favorite repetitive books:

“Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” by Bill Martin Jr and Eric Carle

“Chugga Chugga Choo Choo” by Kevin Lewis

“Dear Zoo” by Rod Campbell


Find a book with beautiful illustrations. How beautiful are these illustrations in “Big Bear, Little Chair” by Lizi Boyd?! Sometimes you will come across a book you love, but the text may seem to be too simple or too difficult for your child. Don’t worry! Spend time “reading the pictures” together. Point out objects and talk about what you see happening in the pictures. I have had so much fun taking over this account today.

Some of our favorite illustrations:

“Float” by Daniel Miyares

“Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak

“Waiting for Wings” by Lois Ehlers


Language Fun at the Beach

We just returned from a week long getaway at the beach. Baby girl had so much fun! The week consisted of many “firsts” for her, including seeing the ocean, meeting all the creatures that live around the beach, and experiencing sand (only a small amount was eaten!). Everyday she had a new experience and each experience was described to her in detail. A trip to the beach can elicit so much language. Below I have listed a few ways you can promote your child’s language while simply playing at the beach.


Seashells: Take a walk along the beach. You can take two buckets with you and have a competition to see who can fill their bucket with MORE shells. Once you have collected the shells bring them back to the house. You can sort the shells by size, shape, or color. Then describe what the shells look like and how they feel. We made a seashell sensory bottle by placing shells into a VOSS water bottle with half water and half clear liquid hand soap. This bottle entertained baby girl on the long ride home.

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Go for a Walk: There is so much to see on the beach. Birds and kites flying, boats out to sea, and crabs racing at your feet. Point out all of these things in the distance to your child. See if your child can follow your point and then talk about what you see!


Build a Sandcastle: How timeless is building a sandcastle? There are so many language concepts that can be used while building your masterpiece. Use spatial concepts in/on/next to, size concepts big/little, or descriptive words, such as wet/dry/rough/soft. You can also turn this into a fun following directions activity. Give a simple direction, such as put the seashell on top of the tower, and see if your child can complete the direction. You can then flip the activity around and have your child give you verbal directions to complete.


Beachball Fun: A simple beachball from the $1 store can elicit many language opportunities during play. Take turns passing the ball back and fourth using my turn vs your turn. Use the phrase ready, set … and then pause waiting for your child to complete the phrase by saying go before passing the ball. Use up and down as you toss the ball in the air. See who can toss the ball higher. 


The experiences are plentiful when you are visiting the beach. These fun language filled activities don’t require a beach on the ocean. Do some research in your area and see if there are any beaches at a lake, river, or pond nearby. If you are in the Columbus, Ohio area check out the beach at Alum Creek State Park. I have put all of these beach play ideas for you in one place. Just click on the link below, print, and take with you on your next beach adventure!

Language Fun at the Beach PDF

Having the Child “Take the Lead”

I am honored to be a guest blogger on Say-N-Play Columbus! Like Signe, I am a Speech-Language Pathologist living in the Columbus area. I work in the clinical and school setting and love following this blog to get ideas for my kids and to pass on to my parents! In addition, I adore that this blog’s main focus is about PLAY! Especially, in the best city ever… Columbus, Ohio! Being a Speech-Language Pathologist, I am constantly reading articles that discuss how play is such an important skill that helps develop language and social skills; which in turn, aids in academic success and performance. Academic success is ultimately what we want for all of our kids, but to me, the most positive benefit from play is the special interactions you gain with your child. 🙂


Over the years, I have learned it can be easy for us adults to want to take the lead during play and when interacting with your child. I know sometimes in my speech therapy sessions, I have a whole lesson planned….and I think “He is going to love this activity and we are going to A, B, and C.” Then, when I introduce the lesson to the child, they are more interested in the man mowing the lawn outside the window compared to the lesson I planned! That is why I have found that one of the best ways to maximize learning and relationship development with your child is to make sure you follow their lead! When the child is in the lead, you can then build off what the child is doing. Be the facilitator, not the “boss” of interactions and play! Here are some tips and examples to get you started. (The response examples in parentheses below may not apply to your child, and depends on your child’s level of language development! TIP: Wherever your child is at with language, try to take it to the next level of complexity with your responses.)

  • “Set the stage” for your child by creating and exposing them to a developmentally appropriate and stimulating environment and toys (This blog has many great ideas for toys and activities!)
  • Observe, wait and watch for what your child is interested in your environment at eye-to-eye level (What do they focus on the most? What causes them to have a reaction?  What do they reach for? What does their body language say? What do you think they are thinking?)
  • Once the child initiates an interaction with you through body language, sounds or words, respond with excitement and enthusiasm and encourage them to respond back. (e.g. your child looks at and touches a ball and then looks at you…respond “Let’s play with the ball!).
  • Imitate and mirror their actions, facial expressions, words/phrases, and sounds (e.g. your child is squishing the ball, so you squish a ball too!)
  • Listen to their comments or sounds and expand on them (e.g. Your child says, “ball” when rolling with a say “ball rolllll”)
  • Look at their eye gaze and actions and describe what they are doing (e.g. your child is bouncing the ball….say “Bounce!” each time the ball bounces)
  • Give your child choices  (Ask what should we do next with the ball? Roll or kick the ball?” Place the ball on teddy’s head or mommy’s head?)

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I hope this helps grow your interactions, play and bonding with your child! One final tip is to be prepared to adapt since children’s attention span and interests can vary and change. Also…..HAVE FUN interacting and making memories with your child!




Megan Pollock