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Minnesota Childrens Museum Blog

At Minnesota Children's Museum, we believe that early learning is the foundation for lifelong learning. No matter how young your child is, you can participate in activities that can help form skills in language and reading.

Newborn to 3 Months: Listen and talk to your baby throughout the day. While feeding, diapering and bathing your baby, sing songs, nursery rhymes, and smile and coo in response to your baby’s smiles and coos.

4 to 8 Months: Talk and play with your baby. Use words and actions when talking. Play games, such as peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake, which teach your baby about taking turns when communicating.

9 to 12 Months: Read and tell stories with your baby. Make reading a shared experience. Point to pictures and name the objects. Use puppets, dolls and other toys as props. When reading, hold your baby on your lap and the book so your baby can see the pictures.

1 to 1 1/2 Years: Provide play materials that match your child’s skill level and interest. Let your child play with pots, pans, wooden spoons, plastic containers and other safe household items. Talk about what they’re doing. This will help your child learn new words. The more words your child knows, the easier it will be when he or she starts reading.

1 1/2 to 2 Years: To build your toddler’s vocabulary, say what you or your child is doing. If you are shopping with your child, say, “Let’s buy some apples. What color apples should we buy? Green or red?” Use as many words as you can when you talk with your child. If your child is building with blocks, say, “Look at how big your tower is! It’s almost as tall as you are! Wow, now you’re adding even more blocks to your tower. It’s going to be huge.”

2 to 3 Years: Read books and do activities that let toddlers join in. Arrange a special time for reading and read some of the same books again and again. Encourage your toddler to help you read the book by joining in with the words or repeated phrases he or she knows. Begin pointing out letters in your child’s name wherever there is print.


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