Props to help interaction & communication

Some toddlers need extra help interacting and connecting with people.

One of the ways that we interact with each other is by making eye contact.  It’s so important to look at each other when you are interacting.  Have you had a conversation with someone who is texting and felt like they weren’t listening to you?

If your toddler needs help making eye contact with you then you have probably already found that it’s not helpful to say ‘look at mummy’  hundreds of times.  Even calling your child’s name many times doesn’t work?

This infographic is for parents with young children who are working on interaction and eye contact.

Can you playfully lure your child to look at you?  Rather than command him!

Download for a reminder during the day.




8 Toddler Games without Toys

Before first words appear, toddlers need to be sending messages to you.

Messages can be ;

  • facial expressions
  • pointing at things
  • tapping you on the hand to get your attention
  • calling out
  • nodding or shaking head
  • and much more!

This infographic is for parents who are helping toddlers to send more messages (without words).

Getting your toddler to focus on you (not a toy) makes it easier for him to interact with you and communicate.

Stick this on the fridge as a reminder throughout the day!

Download here


Vowels in Preschoolers

The vowel in a word gives it a shape.

ow !

Think about how this vowel sounds and how it looks when someone is saying it.  All those words that rhyme with it – cow, how, now – they all have the same word shape.

Importantly, if the vowel is correct then the listener is often able to guess a word even if it has not been said perfectly.  “dow” might be “cow” .  “dow” probably isn’t “key”.

Different accents often have variations on vowels.  In many Australian English communities, there are up to 18 different vowels for children to learn to say and then later to spell.

Some children with speech and language difficulties need help with learning how to produce certain vowels.  This may determine which words are targeted in therapy.

We have designed a quick screening tool for all of the Australian vowels including a recording sheet.

You can download it here for FREE.

There is also an index book of articulation cards for homework here.  The Big Book of Vowels has 9 words for each vowel.  The words are appropriate for younger children (often one syllable) and have a corresponding picture attached.


20 Novelty Books for Late Talkers

We have compiled a list of novelty or interactive books for young children who dont like to sit for too long.  Lots of children with language delay also have difficulty listening to and attending to books.  A great way to encourage looking at books is to use books with flaps, touch & feel, zips, puppets and sliders.  This can be a useful bridge into book sharing whilst the childs language and attention skills grow.  These types of books are also great for babies who like to feel and chew on books!

Books that are not quite as useful are those that are battery-operated.  You know the type lots of noises and lights flashing as you turn the page.  These types of books dont allow your child to focus on your voice and the words.  Stay away from books with batteries!

We’ve done the work for you!  All the books are linked to Book Depository with free delivery.  You can click on any of the book titles for more information/availability.

20 interactive books

1. Lulus Lunch by Camilla Reid.  The whole Lulu series is beautifully illustrated and has lots of bits for children to open and close.  There is a sticky bowl of honey, a banana to peel and a bib to attach.  At the end is a bowl of (string) spaghetti!  Lots of fun here and many nice easy early words such as lunch, eat, and many food names.  Easily one of our favourite books at the moment!

2.  Munch! by Matthew Van Fleet.  This crocodile likes to eat different foods.  There is a tab on the side of the book that children can pull to help the crocodiles mouth move.  Prompt words- eat, in, out, munch!

3. Spot on the Move by Eric Hill.  All the Spot books have flaps to lift which are tempting for children.  This book has a finger puppet that can be used through the whole book.  Prompt words- Spot, fly, drive.

4.  This Little Piggy by Scholastic Books.  There are a few books in this series of nursery rhymes.  This hand puppet has a book attached with the words of the rhyme.  Each finger is another piggy!  Children or parent can use the puppet.  Prompt words piggy, weeeeee,home.

5. Grannys Purse by P.Hanson.  This book is for the older toddler as the pages are quite busy. It is in the shape of a purse with its contents spilling out.   These are fun to look at and talk about.  Prompt words- bag, granny, keys.

6.  Playbook Farm .  Another book for an older toddler as there are some fiddly pieces.  This is a farm book with pop up fences and separate cardboard animals that can be put in the yards.  Prompt words baa, moo, cow, fence.

7.  Sleepy or Not, Mr Croc by Jo Lodge.  The pop up crocodile in this book is great fun for moving.  There are also tabs to pull to make him move.  Prompt words sssh,  croc, bed.

8.  Squeak, Squeak Maisy by Lucy Cousins.  Many of the Maisy books have lift the flaps.  This book has a little push button squeeker on the side of the book that your child can press as you look at each page.  The squeaking noise relates to the noises in the book.  Prompt words- squeak, push, again.

9.  Who Says Moo?  by Jane Wolfe.  This book is great for younger children learning animal noises.  Tabs at the side of the book can be pulled to reveal another animal.  Prompt noises moo, baa.

10.  Baby Touch: Moo Moo Tab Book by Ladybird.   Another lovely farm animal book for little fingers.  The large animal tab faces help baby turn the pages.  There are also lots of textures to feel.

11. Tractor by Dawn Sirrett.  The Baby Touch Series by Dorling Kindersley are for babies and younger toddlers.  They are a good quality textured series for babies to feel.  The pages generally have one photo image which is clear and not cluttered.

12. Sleepy Bunny by Golden Books.  This soft cloth book has a bunny attached on a string.  On each page, your baby can pop the bunny into a pocket.  Prompt words bunny, in, out.

13.  This Royal Baby by Zita Newcome.  This colourful book for the older toddler has lots of different baby faces to talk about.  Your toddler can pull the tab to change each page.  Prompt words baby, sad, happy, sleepy.

14.  Hooray! says Peppa Pig.  Another finger puppet book that goes right through the book.  For fans of Peppa Pig this is great for little fingers.  Prompt words- pig, Peppa.

15.  Where is Babys Birthday Cake by Kar en Katz.  Beautiful, attractive pictures for toddlers to look at.  Lots of flaps to look under to find the missing birthday cake.  Prompt words blowing out candles,  hooray, birthday song.

16. Whats in the Witchs Kitchen by Nick Sharratt.  This book is for the older toddler or preschooler with more information on each page.  The witch has lots of things in her kitchen to look at.  Each page has a trick and a treat the ingenious flaps can turn two ways for you to see either the treat (strawberry tea) or a trick (goblin pee)!  Prompt words yum, yuk!

17. Animal hide & Seek by Stephen Cartwright.  Large clear pictures of animals for toddlers to look at.  There are also textures to feel and flaps to lift.  Toddlers can also find the hidden duck on each page!  Prompt words found it!,  up.

18.  Busy Park by Rebecca Finn.  Children can look at all the familiar things in the park and move the tabs.  The see-saw can go up and down,  the gate can close.  Prompt words open, up, down, see saw, swing.

19.  Hungry Monsters by Matt Mitter.  This colourful book has a monster eating something in every room.  Soap in the bathroom, knickers in the bedroom!  Toddlers will have fun looking in his mouth on every page.  Prompt words open, eat.

20.  Busy Railway by Rebecca Finn.  Lots of things are happening at the railway station.  Your toddler can use the tabs to pull up the gate or make the train go.  Prompt words up, go, down, train.

How to encourage baby to make sounds

We all know those noises babies often make before their first birthday.

Blowing raspberries, clicking the tongue,  hand over mouth repeatedly and the constant babababa / gagagaga.

What about the cute ‘fake cough’ that some babies will make to get your attention!

or the ‘tune’ that sort of sounds a bit like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star?

There are so many variations to these baby noises but the one thing they have in common is that they are building blocks for learning to talk.  Make no mistake, these noises are not just harmless baby babble.  These are the foundation for your baby’s first words.

What if my baby is very quiet?

  1. Your baby’s first goal is to be more noisy!

Whatever noises your baby is already making, encourage them!  Get your baby to make them more!  Copy your baby and see how delighted he is that you did that.  Say his favourite noise back and forth to him.

2. Make that noise meaningful.  

Use that noise to mean something.  Maybe it could be a tongue click for a horse or a raspberry noise for a car?

3.  Coughing and Laughing

These are vocal noises that children like to play with too.  Copy your baby and see if he copies your laugh or cough or sneeze?

4.  Animals

Babies are often very interested in real (and toy) animals.  Point at the cat and say meow whilst you stroke it.  Feed some plastic farm animals and make some ‘chewing’ noises or ‘slurping’ noises.

5.  Outside

When you are pushing your baby on the swing or down the slide or in the sandpit.  Listen to your baby’s sounds that signal enjoyment and say them back.

6.  New sounds

You might also try to alter your baby’s sounds just a bit.  This might help your baby to acquire a new noise.

Need more ideas?

  1. Books that promote playsounds – list here
  2. Playsounds Guide – FREE download
  3. IKEA – Best buys for language development – here
  4. Nursery Rhymes – action songs for language development
  5. Pinterest Board ideas – here