Grandparents Teach, too: Tiny happy people learn language

Sabin, DaVIS, HETRICK, ANDEREGG, Macalady, walker, darling and Katers

We often hear that babies should come with a manual to help guide amazing early development. The BBC’s new program called Tiny Happy People found at bbc.com is very close to a baby brain development manual for the family. It is full of simple games for you and your baby ages 3-6 months to bond and build language. Wait for your baby to have proper head control before trying some of the activities.


Peek-a Boo is a silly game. However, babies learn that you are full of fun. You can also fill a pillowcase pillow with ordinary items like small stuffed animals, fuzzy balls and a soft small blanket. Your baby will love the surprise of what you pull out and name, especially if you build up excitement before you pull out each one.

Small Stuffies

Toys like teddies or other small stuffed animals with a face are great props you can talk about with your baby. Introduce discussion about features of the teddy. Baby’s senses are very strong. Introduce the feel of the bear. What actions can teddy do? Clap hands, kick, snuggle. What else?

Rhymes and Songs

Speech and language therapists offer some advice. Sing the same songs and rhymes like the ABC song over and over again while rocking and going for walks. A few other classics are Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, Row, Row, Row Your Boat, Wheels on the Bus, Old Mac Donald had a Farm, and Incy, Wincy Spider. Sing with a smile on your face and in your voice. Baby won’t care if you don’t sing like Adele.

You can use lots of actions when you speak and make sure your baby can see your face and lips. Gestures and voice intonation will keep your baby interested in you. Respond when your baby smiles and smile back. You will want them to come to talk to you for all sorts of reasons as they grow up. Let them know that talking to you is important even from the beginning.

Take turns talking. You talk and give them time so make noises back. Smile and look like you understand. Be excited that they are responding and follow your baby’s lead. Explain about anything that catches their attention.

Taking Turns

You can build excitement and the idea of taking turns while you play games like blowing bubbles, blowing raspberries, rolling a ball, or bouncing a balloon. Help them unwrap a little box. They love the sound of ripping paper or peering in a box. Say, Ready, steady and before you say, “Go!” wait a moment. They will start anticipating, by smiling, gesturing, giggling, or kicking their feet soon. They are learning that language is fun. For more see grandparentsteach.blogspot.com or wnmufm.org/Learning Through the Seasons.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Grandparents Teach, Too is a non-profit organization of elementary and preschool teachers from Marquette, Michigan. The writers include: Jan Sabin, Mary Davis, Jean Hetrick, Cheryl Anderegg, Esther Macalady, Colleen Walker, Fran Darling, and Iris Katers. Their mission since 2009 is to help parents, grandparents, and other caregivers of young children provide fun activities to help prepare young children for school and a life long love of learning. They are supported by Great Start, Parent Awareness of Michigan, the U.P. Association for the Education of Young Children, Northern Michigan School of Education, the U.P. Children’s Museum and the Northern Michigan University Center for Economic Education.


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