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Word play

Your baby could hear you talking even before they were born. They recognised your voice right from the start. They might not understand the words that you say, but they will be listening and learning.

You can talk about what you are doing right now and what you are going to do.

It’s time to change your nappy. Here we go - onto the change table. Let’s take off that wet nappy. I’m putting it over here in the bucket. Here’s a lovely dry one. All done.

Children are naturally inquisitive and want to know about the world and what is happening around them. The way they express their wonder and curiosity is by asking questions.

Your child might ask questions about what they see and hear or about where you are going.

Where does the sun go at night?

There’s something in the letterbox!

Junk mail that arrives in your letterbox might look like rubbish to you, but children love it. Next time you find catalogues in the mail take some time to look at them with your child.

Let’s see what these are about. What can you see on this page?

You can use food catalogues to plan your meals for the week. Talk with your child about favourite foods and new foods.

What should we have for lunch tomorrow? Do you want strawberries or mangoes?

Many cultures share and tell their stories through the colour, designs, placement and patterns printed or woven into their fabric and cloth.

The fabric can tell you the story of where a person lives, what animals or food can be found in the environment and who they are connected to. It can even tell you the age and status of the person wearing the cloth.

Next time you are out and about try to find some interesting or unusual fabrics to talk about. You can also look in a book.

Use photos of your child and their adventures to make special books for them. Choose some photos together and print them out. Glue them on pages so they make a story. Your child can help to add decorations like stickers or drawings. Write the story in the book together and then join the pages with cable ties or ribbons. Your child will love hearing you read a story about them.

Drawing and writing doesn’t just happen inside. Outside can be a great place to draw and write too.

Give your child some chalk to draw with when they are outside. They could draw on cement, walls or fences. When your child is drawing or writing outside they are able to make very big pictures or letters.

Can you draw a big picture of yourself? Is it bigger than you?

How big can you write your name?

Encourage your child to experiment with mixing the chalk colours together.

Children naturally want to move and be active and will try out different ways for their bodies to move. You can combine language with your child’s natural interest in moving.

As you talk, sing or chant with your child you can combine action rhymes and words with movement patterns. Take turns leading the rhyming and instructions. You could make up nonsense words that rhyme.

Stand up tall and then curl up small.

Run to the hall and then roll like a ball.

Have you ever noticed how much writing there is on clothing? Some of it’s on the outside and some is on the inside. Point out the writing as you help your child get dressed.

Look at the writing on your T-shirt. Can you find the letter that your name starts with?

When you are shopping for your child’s clothes show them the label and talk about the size you are looking for.

You need a size 4 shirt. Can you find one with a 4?

Reading can happen anywhere and everywhere. We read signs, recipes, information on packets and tins, bus timetables and menus. A love of words and language can be encouraged by reading books together.

Different things are special in different families. We mark these special occasions with a card. It might be for the birth of a baby, a birthday, National days, naming days or cultural celebrations.

After the big day has been celebrated and it is time to take down the cards, what will you do with them?

Cards can be used for cutting and drawing, sewing around, creating new cards and special letters. They can even be used to make a book about the special event.

It is never too early to begin singing to your baby. You can even start before they are born.

Sing songs that you know. Your baby won’t mind if you are not a great singer. You can sing about what you are doing or looking at. At bath time you could sing:

Five little ducks
Went out one day
Over the hill and far away

You could make up songs or add your baby’s name to the song.

Little Maggie had a farm
Ee i ee i oh! Ee-i-ee-i-o!

You can also sing lullabies to help your baby sleep or settle.

There are many different ways that we share stories. It can be by talking, by showing them in a painting, drawing, weaving, or design, in photographs or by using the natural environment.

One way to help your child tell and listen to stories is to use stones. When you use stones to tell stories the tale changes, taking on many possibilities and personalities that are not just words or pictures on a page. The picture, colour or pattern on the stone becomes a page in a story.

There are many different ways that we can communicate and talk to people. You can have a conversation with others even when you are not face-to-face or in the same room. One way is by using the phone.

Next time you are going to make a phone call talk to your child about what happens. Explain that sometimes when you ring someone they might not be able to talk. They might not be at home or are busy doing other things.

If we can’t talk to Nikita we can leave a message. Then she can ring us back later.

There are many different ways that we share stories. It can be by talking, reading a book, showing a painting, drawing, weaving or design or by using the natural environment. One way to share stories with your child is to tell them - using memory or imagination.

As you snuggle up close with your child and tell stories they will notice how your voice, face and body changes as the story develops. As the tale changes and grows - and each new character is introduced - they will hear different words and language.

There are many ways to tell a story, not only by reading a book. Many cultures share and tell their stories through painting. The colour, symbols, design and patterns included in a painting will tell you a story about that person and what is important to them.

The painting can tell you the story of where a person lives, what animals or food can be found there and who they are connected to. The symbols in the painting can even tell you the age and status of the person.

Do you get the newspaper delivered to your home? If you do, you can talk to your child about what is in the paper and how to find different information.

The paper’s here. We can look in the entertainment section to see when the movie is on that you want to see. The content index on page 2 will tell us where to find the entertainment section.

When you are out walking or driving the car how do you know when to stop or where to turn? Do you have to wait for someone to tell you what to do or is there something else that helps you to know?

There are signs everywhere and they help us to know what to do and how to act. When you are out and about with your child point out the different signs that you notice. Ask them if they can work out what the signs say from the picture, symbol or number on the sign.

Every day many different things happen. Some of them are planned and predictable but others just pop up.

Make time with your child at the end of each day to talk about the different things that happened. You might talk about events that you did together, ones that suddenly came up or things that happened to your child while they were at kindy or childcare.

As you talk together about your day, remember to give your child time to think and respond to what you are saying. One way to keep the conversation going is to ask questions about what happened.

Next time you are travelling in the car with your child and the radio is playing, talk about the music you can hear. Is it modern pop music with singing or is it orchestral with no singing? Are there lots of people singing and playing instruments?

This style of music is called jazz. There are different styles of jazz music. Some jazz music is older and doesn’t have any singing.

This song is a duet. It’s called that because it is sung by two people.

Did you hear that? What was that? Was it a bird?

Every day your child will hear different sounds and noises around them. Sometimes they will know the sound and be able to tell you what it is. They might tell you where the noise or sound is coming from.

I can hear music outside. That’s the music from the ice-cream van.

Other times your child might hear a noise that surprises them and not be able to name what it is.

That was a very loud noise. I think it was the truck collecting the rubbish bins.

Learning to write begins with children noticing writing around them and trying to create their own words.

You can help your child to begin to write by encouraging them to scribble and draw with a variety of tools and materials.

You could set up an area with drawing materials they can access at any time or encourage them to help you with everyday writing tasks.

We are going shopping tomorrow. Let’s write a list of what we need before we go.

Writing a card or letter is an interesting activity for children.

First think about who the letter is for and what you want to say. Is it for a birthday, is it a get well card or a postcard while you are on holiday? It could even be a letter to the child themselves. Your child can draw or write the letter. Or if your child is younger, ask them what they want you to write for them. As they get older they can copy some words that you write for them on the letter.