Encourage your child’s first words through simple songs!
Fingerplay or hand movements incorporated during a song allows for visual movement and sometimes enhances meaning of a song. Presenting hand movements near your face, but not in front of your mouth brings attention to your mouth. This will help your son or daughter attend and observe how you are moving your lips to form words.
Singing predictable, repetitive, rhyming songs are optimal. Pausing may help your child anticipate that it is his / her turn to “converse”. Allow time for your child to attempt to say the target word, but not too much time that you lose his or her attention.
Below are fantastic fingerplay songs. Lyrics can be found on the internet. This website offers lyrics and lists the specific fingerplay movements. Sing slowly!
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
The Wheels on the Bus
If You’re Happy and You Know It
Row, Row, Row your Boat
This Old Man
This Little Piggy Went to Market
Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
The Itsy Bitsy Spider
I’m a Little Teapot
Open, Shut Them
Two Little Blackbirds
Where is Thumbkin?
We’re Going to Kentucky (We’re going to the fair)
Ring Around the Rosie
Always sing face to face.
If your child is too young or has difficulty imitating your fingerplay movements, move your child’s hands and body to mimic the movements of the song.
Sing fingerplay songs throughout the day. When you are dressing your child, changing a diaper and mealtime are great opportunities.
Stephanie Sigal is a speech therapist who helps babies and toddlers with language delay. Stephanie provides parents with tools to help their children thrive. Stephanie visits children in their Upper East Side of Manhattan homes. If you have questions about your child’s language development, please contact Stephanie at firstname.lastname@example.org or 646-295-4473.