*The twins are 26 months actual, 24 months adjusted
Hi friends! Today I want to share a quick communication-boosting tool that I created using pictures from our farm field trip. I’m always on the look out for toddler language activities, and this one is also excellent for early literacy, too!
Toddler Language Activity: Make an Experience Book
Experience books are a great language and literacy tool, as well as a fun way to remember special activities and outings. In my recent family chalkboard post, I talked about using pictures and objects to help children with emerging language talk about past events.
Experience books are the perfect tool to help my two-year-olds share their memories with other important people in their lives. When used in this way, we don’t necessarily just sit down and read it to them like a typical book. Instead, I might say something like, “Sydney, did you tell Mimi about the day we went to the farm?” and hand her the book to show my mother. Rather than just having the child sit passively while the adult reads, the child takes the lead, flipping through the pictures and using them as a visual reference to point to while they are talking. Meanwhile, the pictures and words help the adult (usually Daddy or a grandparent) have enough contextual information to understand what the twins are saying, even if their speech isn’t perfectly clear yet. It makes for a much more successful and satisfying communication experience for both parties and provides great language practice for the little ones!
Of course, the pictures can also be used like a typical book, and the twins bring them to me several times a day to read. Pairing the words with the pictures great for early literacy, and they love to point to the print as we read together. When writing the text for these books, I try to use simple sentences with repetitive text, and I do a lot of auditory completion (pausing in my reading to encourage the twins to finish my sentences on their own). This helps them become active participants in read-aloud time, which is very important for language development and later reading skills.
Creating the book was easy- I just took photos from our trip and used PicMonkey to add the text. I printed them out on our home printer and then laminated them for durability. To hold them all together, I used a hole punch to clip a corner of each picture and then had my son help me thread the pictures onto a metal ring. The books last a long time and can be tossed into a purse or bag to occupy little ones on outings. The metal ring is easy for an adult to open up, so the pictures could be used in sequencing activities later on if desired, or you could add several mini-books to one ring. We have also made experience books by just sticking pictures into small photo albums from the dollar store. The books themselves don’t need to look “pretty” as long as they get you and your child talking together!
Experience books are a tool that I used extensively when doing speech therapy with children with language disorders and autism. It is a great way to encourage language-sharing across contexts and is also a wonderful a wonderful confidence booster for the child. You might consider creating one for your little one to share with his/her teacher after a special outing or vacation!
More Great Stuff for You!
Looking for more ways to boost language in little ones? Check out our Language Basics page- it contains all of our language posts and I’m adding new ones all the time, including topics like When Will My Toddler REALLY Start Talking? and The Best Toys for Speech and Language Development!
If it’s farm activities for toddlers that you are looking for, click HERE for a roundup of all of our farm-themed activities!