How to turn baby babble into words

Published 8:55 am Thursday, January 12, 2012

Column: Apryl Gorton, Thrive Initiative

The gift of the gab is an ability some come by easily. When the babies in our lives begin to babble; we often wonder what their first word will be, if the child will be shy or if we sound silly talking to them aloud. Raising a confident talker begins right in our own homes. As parents, we can further the enjoyment by introducing words verbally and physically even before baby is ready to repeat them. Here’s how:

Apryl Gorton

Think of five one-syllable nouns that you can place in baby’s hands. Examples: sock, ball, duck, box and cup. Put them in a bag and take one item out at a time. Experience each item with the baby by pulling it out, touching it gently to baby’s face, using it with baby (i.e. putting the sock on baby’s foot), and saying the word softly over and over again.

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You are beginning to give your baby a vocabulary just as you do each time you converse with him or her. It will feel great!


A toddler’s special gift

Diaper bags, book bags, bags for crafts and bags for shopping. Bags are used by everyone and make a wonderful gift. You will need a plain canvass bag from Walmart, Jo-Ann Fabrics or another craft shop, acrylic paint, tin foil, shaped sponges and/or paint brushes.

Set up an area that can easily be cleaned, like a kitchen table or newspaper covered surface and let your child choose three colors of paint. Put a small amount of each color on a piece of foil. Allow your child to sponge or brush paint the bag.

We paint one side and let it dry overnight before painting the other side. Creating the masterpiece is just as fun as giving these presents away.


Ideas for play

Fishing season or not, for this game you won’t need a license, just a little imagination. You will need one stick per child, string, a magnet to hang from the string, a role of magnetic tape (easily found at Walmart, Jo-Ann Fabrics and other craft shops) and heavy construction paper.

Romp around with your child until you find a stick the right size for a fishing pole. Tie a string to the end of the stick and a magnet to the end of the string. Draw and cut out any size fish you like, cut pieces from the magnetic tape appropriate for each paper fish, remove the tape from the magnets and stick on the paper fish.

Now the fun really begins. Sit your child down and toss the fish all around him or her allow your child to cast, catch, and release them back into his or her make-believe pond.

Don’t forget to use size and color when you praise your child’s accomplishments. “Wow, you caught a large orange fish, look at that little blue fish” will open the door to teaching colors and math without you even breaking a sweat!


Apryl Gorton is the director of New Direction Tutoring and a volunteer with the Freeborn County Thrive Initiative. Visit the website at