Ways to Say-n-Play with Baby 9-12 Months

We made it to baby girl’s first birthday. Absolutely incredible! Here I am again reflecting on baby girl’s favorite toys and the activities from the past 3 months. Once she turned 9 months old, we had to revamp her toy selection. Here, I have listed her top 10 favorite toys from the past 3 months. Again, kid tested; over-analyzing mother approved…

Step2 Big Splash Waterpark: This water table includes slides, a waterwheel, play people and a scooping cup. The table encourages your child’s gross/fine motor, and language skills.

Manhattan Toy® Wee Baby Stella : This plush doll provides your child with the opportunity to be loving and nurturing. The doll also promotes pretend play skills by allowing your child to clothe, feed, and read to the doll.

Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Chatter Telephone: A pull toy phone that promotes gross/fine motor skills and social/language abilities. Your child can pull the phone around the house and then stop to answer the phone. Your child can talk into the phone or share the phone call with a favorite adult.

Hape – Pound & Tap Bench with Slide Out Xylophone: One of our favorite toys that can be used in a variety of ways! Your child can pound the balls, watch the balls fall through and then slide down the xylophone. Your child can pull the xylophone out and play music separately.

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Radio Flyer Classic Walker Wagon: Baby girl is learning to walk and loves pushing around this wagon. She can fill it up with her favorite toys and lovies and pull to stand without the wagon flying out from under her. The wagon has a “resist push” feature which supports baby girl’s balance and helps build her confidence as a new walker.

Pat the Bunny (Touch and Feel Book)Our favorite book for the past 2 months! Dorothy Kunhardt wrote “Pat the Bunny” in 1940. She was ahead of her time by writing such an interactive children’s book that engages all the senses. This is sure to be a loved book in your home.

Melissa & Doug Rainbow Stacker: This stacker helps build early shape, color and size differentiation skills.

Melissa & Doug Deluxe 50-piece Wooden ABC/123 Blocks Set : A versatile toy designed to build, stack, and promote color/letter/number recognition.

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Melissa & Doug First Shapes Jumbo Knob PuzzleA perfect beginner puzzle for your child.

Earlyears Roll ‘n Swirl Ball Ramp: Encourages fine motor, problem solving and cause and effect learning skills.

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Language Fun at the Playground

The playground is an excellent place to get your child moving and working on their gross motor skills. It is also a great place to promote your child’s language development. Recently, my daughter has become interested in moving and is very excited when it comes time for a trip to the playground. She loves all of the opportunities for movement and social interactions. Below I have listed ways to provide additional opportunities for speech and language development at the playground.

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Make Friends: The playground is a wonderful place to interact socially with other children. Practice using greetings by encouraging your child to wave and say “hi/bye.” You can also encourage your child to initiate a conversation with another child by asking them their name or if they would like to play.

Action Words: The playground encourages all sorts of movement, so what better place than a playground to target action words (verbs). Think of all the actions that your child can do while at the playground: swing, slide, climb, run, walk, jump, sit, play, stop, go, etc. You can model the word while your child is completing the action or have your child tell you what she is doing.

Basic Concepts in Play: A variety of basic concepts can be used to describe play at the playground. Examples of these concepts include: fast/slow, up/down, high/low, on/off, in/out, big/little, under/over. Use these concepts to describe your child’s movement or incorporate these concepts into

Ready, Set, Go!: Use anticipatory sets in play. Anticipatory sets are phrases that are used repetitively with your child so that she will anticipate what comes next. For example, you can place your child at the top of the slide and keep her in position while you say, “ready, set, go!” After you have said “go,” let her go down the slide. To encourage your child to interact using language, repeat the task. This time you will say “ready, set… “ and then wait. You won’t let your child go down the slide until she has finished the phrase, in some way, by using a sign, approximated word, or word. The sequence of ready, set, go is powerfully motivating to produce language, especially when something exciting is about to happen.

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Follow Directions: Following directions is an easy task while at the playground and can often be turned into a game. See if your child can follow a simple 1-step direction (ex: go to the swing). If she can complete that task, begin to make the directions more complex (ex: go up the steps and down the slide). As your child masters simple directions, you can then begin to make the directions more complex by sequencing and adding basic concepts (ex: First, go down the blue slide, then, go across the green bridge).

Engaging the Senses at the Farmers Market

Children experience their world through their senses: smell, sight, hear, taste, and touch.  A trip to the local farmers market is a multi-sensorial experience, which can further result in increasing your child’s language development.

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Smell: The farmers market is full of smells. Take them all in as you visit each stall. Let your child pick out something to smell, such as, an herb or flower. Talk with your child about what she is smelling and use adjectives to describe the scent.

Sight: Your child will have the opportunity to see different shapes, colors, movements, and  textures while wandering around the farmers market. Compare and contrast the different colors of fruit, vegetables, and flowers.

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Hear: There are many different sounds around the market including people talking and music playing. Try to locate a musician and sing along with the song or start a conversation with one of the farmers.

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Taste: Find a sample of something your child has never tasted before. Use adjectives to describe how the food tastes.

Touch: Think of texture. Provide your child with the opportunity to touch a variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and goods. Use adjectives to describe the texture of the item being handled.

A farmers market is a wonderful adventure for the senses. The best part is that the market changes with the seasons, so each week your child will have the opportunity to participate in a different sensorial adventure.

Below, I have provided a guide on engaging the senses at the farmers market. Take it with you the next time you visit your local farmers market.

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