At 16 months, Winter is beginning to add new words to her vocabulary on a daily basis. We are trying to raise her bilingual in Spanish and English and just the other day she said her first Spanish word, "Auga" which means water. My heart melted into one giant puddle. I love that she is learning two languages. Winter has also learned how to voice when she disagrees with you by saying, "No, No" (sometimes even with a sassy head nod and finger shake). I may be in big trouble over here guys. :)
The elementary school that I work in has a preschool. I love popping by these classrooms because a). The little ones are just darling and b). I always learn so many tips and tricks about early education that I can use with Winter.
Developmentally by 18 months, Winter should be able to recognize and identify objects and pictures by pointing, point to 3 body parts, follow single step directions, respond to yes/no questions with a head nod and understand the intent of questions.
It's no secret that early literacy is important. Below are 5 ways to create a literacy-rich environment:
1). Nursery Rhymes: Nursery rhymes are a great way to introduce your toddler to language in a fun way. By pairing words with gestures, it also allows your child to have an active role in the song too. One tip when singing is to pause before certain motor movements to see if your child will fill in the blanks. This article describes that it is beneficial to pause to promote communication, turn-taking and to teach the child that their participation is wanted and appreciated.
Right now, Winter and I are working on the "Itsy Bitsy Spider". It is heart-melting to watch her "spider" climb up and down and the way she "washes the spider out" with such enthusiasm.
2). Letter Work: Whether it be in the bath tub or while we're in the kitchen, I love using these water proof letters or these magnets to spell words and say the letter names and colors while we are playing.
3). Read. Read. Read: I am always amazed that Winter will sit for as long as she does and attend to books. Some days, we read a variety of books and other times, we read the same one all dayyyyy long. One great way to keep adding to your book collection is to use Lillypost, which a monthly book subscription. Each month, a variety of books, that are individually wrapped and thoughtfully picked out for your child's age range, will be delivered to your doorstep.
They have a lot of different subscription options, so it's great for any family size. Also, for every book box purchased, Lillypost donates one new book to a charity focused on advancing children’s literacy. I love a company that gives back! Check out some of their past book boxes here.
4). Bring Nature Into Your House: This idea is inspired by the Waldorf philosophy. A nature table is a designated area that you create inside where you and your little one put your collection of seasonal nature goods that are found while playing outside. You can do one for each season. The idea is to encourage the love of the outdoors, explore objects with all 5 senses and to build vocabulary of common themes seen in the great outdoors.
5). Make Books Accessible: When we moved into our new home, I wasn't sure what to do with a nook right outside of Winter's room. We decided to make some low profile shelves for her books (here). I think that by making all her books accessible, she is more inept to start "reading" on her own. You don't need to build your own bookshelf as you can always just use bins or containers throughout the home. Either option is good way to make it so that your baby can readily get books when he or she wants to.
Peak-a-boo! The other night, Perry cut out this cardboard house and I painted it for Winter. It was the first time in years that I busted out my paints and painted. Winter is loving it and is seriously cracking me up. I swear her and the dog spend endless hours in this box together. I catch her"reading" her books while laying on the dog (poor thing). Let me know if you want a tutorial on how we made it. I'd be more than happy to show you.