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It was time to introduce speaking. Ooh! It turned out not that horrible. As long as you know the main words from your daily routine. You can do it with regular everyday things, “It’s time to change your diaper”, “where is your favorite rattle?”, “what has your mummy done with your baby...
Kids love to be outside. No need to worry that they will get bored. There are so many things to do – to run after a kitty, to shoo a flock of pigeons, to dig their little fingers into the sand in the sandbox, to have a go on the slide and swing! Parents need to keep up the pace and probably to update their English vocabulary – to be able to respond in every possible situation.
Usually toddlers and young children are fascinated with “potty talk” and think that words like “butt” and “poop” are hilarious. But before that stage they need to learn the “vocabulary”. It is preceded by the years of diaper-changing and potty-training with detailed description of the process along the way. So I needed to arrange the ‘immersion into the language’ in that field of domestic everyday life, too.
If babies are satisfied with physical humour like blowing raspberries or nibbling their feet, toddlers adore slapsticks – waddling like a duck, talking like Minnie Mouse and falling down like Charlie Chaplin, then preschoolers can already start appreciating a decent joke – the language-based humour.
Kids are very good at differentiating between languages. My three-year-old tot has his mother speaking English to him, father – Russian, and he goes to a daycare where they speak Ukrainian. He’s doing just fine. But as for answering me in English - that’s the real problem because the exposure is not enough.
How to make learning English more fun? Along with rhyming and repetition, onomatopoeia1 is a great help. Onomatopoeia is a rather complicated term for a sound word that nearly any toddler can master (What does the dog say? “Woof! Woof”). Animal sounds are almost always examples of onomatopoeia (see English4U #11(71) 2008). You name an action by imitating the sound associated with it. One example...