From the moment they are born, babies learn about their world. As they grow older they will explore it in more depth and in many different ways, developing new skills and concepts along the way. At the same time, and from a very early age, you can introduce children to the wider world – through stories, songs, poems and rhymes. As you read and share these stories and rhymes, you will be encouraging awareness of other people; the jobs that they do, the way that they speak, and the way that they look. Children will be learning about their world in a safe and secure environment – through role play, rather than by first-hand experience. As a result of listening to stories and rhymes, and through taking part in role play, children will be both interacting with you and the characters that they come across. They will gather ideas, develop a picture of their world and begin to use their own imaginations.
By encouraging young children to respond to books, pictures and words, you are introducing them to the delights of reading. Babies, from a very early age, will enjoy sharing books, eagerly pointing to pictures and naming what they see. They will love the close comfort of hearing your voice and will delight in hearing you bring stories enthusiastically to life, with sound effects and actions.
Using books as a stimulus for role-play is a relaxed and informal approach to reading. Young children will have a natural interest in responding to stories, songs and poems, especially if they are presented in an interesting manner.
How you can help:
- Sing songs every day with your young child. Add actions, sound effects and visual aids related to the songs and bring them to life.
- Use rhymes to introduce new vocabulary and new people to young children. I’ve included some of my own at the end of this blog so you can see how simple it is to make up your own!
- Use simple storybooks as a visual stimulus to develop pretend-play situations. For example, a story about a bus could lead to some imaginative play where you might be the bus driver and the child could sit behind you. Together you could make the sound of the engine and arrange for money to be paid for a ticket.
- Tell stories that involve your young child. It may relate to something that he has seen happen. You could transport him into the situation by making up a story.
Try some of my rhymes below and then make up some of your own!
Shiny, shimmering, silver ball,
reach and touch it, make it fall.
Coloured ribbons, green and red,
standing straight, they touch your head!
Hello, hello, how are you today?
Hello, hello, hip, hip, hip hooray.
The grass is green, the sky is blue,
The birds do sweetly sing
Oh, oh, oh, happy day. Happy day!
Stretch up high, then down low,
Touch hour head, then touch your toe!
Reach out wide, fold right in,
Big and round, small and thin.