Famous Poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said, “Music is the universal language of mankind.”
Music is not only a universal language, but also a fun way for your child to gain exposure to new vocabulary, rhyming, rhythm, and turn-taking! That is why we love using music in speech-language therapy, and we encourage families to incorporate it into their daily lives.
Here are some of our favorite ways for using music to target language development:
Pair Song Lyrics with Actions
Children, especially toddlers, love interactions that get them moving, so we encourage you to incorporate songs with actions into your play time. “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” is a great example of an active, fast-paced song that can help your child to learn body parts and develop new vocabulary.
Additionally, songs like “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” can be paired with hand gestures to keep your child active and engaged. Pairing gestures for a “spider” with the song also helps your child visualize the new vocabulary word and learn its meaning.
Pair Lyrics with Objects
Similarly, we suggest that you pair song lyrics with objects in your home to help your child match the vocabulary they’re hearing with items in their world. For example, while singing “Old McDonald,” you can hold up farm animals, like a cow or a pig. Or you can drive a toy bus while you sing “The Wheels on the Bus.”
Use Music During Routines
Many of us use songs and rhymes to remember things (like the ABCs or Schoolhouse Rock!). And they are great tools for teaching rhyme, rhythm and new vocabulary! Music can also be a helpful way to transition your child from one activity to the next. By singing or playing the “Clean Up” song, you can help your child relate the song and its lyrics with cleaning up. Nowadays, there are songs for everything: brushing your teeth, washing your hands, and tying your shoes! We encourage you to find your favorites and use them during your child’s daily routines.
Once your child is familiar with a song, pause at points of interest in order to let her/him take a turn at singing. For example, when singing “Old McDonald,” you might pause before ‘E-I-E-I-O’ to let your child sing that part.
Lastly, we encourage you to observe what your child is interested in and incorporate music that is related. Is your child playing with a car or another form of transportation? Sing “The Wheels on the Bus”!
Incorporating music into your day can be such a fun way to teach your child new language and teach other important foundational skills, like rhyming and rhythm!
If you are interested in learning more about developing your child’s speech and language, visit our Resources For Families page, which includes information about speech-language milestones, tips for early literacy development, and more! We also encourage you to follow us on Facebook or Instagram!
Finally, if you think your child is in need of speech-language services, contact us. Our expert Speech-Language Pathologists provide evaluations and therapy services, and we would love to serve your family!