Most every weekend I find myself in a home improvement store (usually multiple times a weekend) with my toddler and husband. My husband is like a kid in a candy store in home improvement stores and I typically follow him around like a lost puppy. Oober bored. Flowers and the gardening section are pretty much my only attraction to these type stores. Knowing that my husband would much rather meander about the store and stare at tools for days without me staring at him or our toddler doing whatever he can to get attention, lately we’ve been telling daddy “bye-bye” and going off on our own adventures. There is actually a lot of fun and learning to be had in home improvement stores. The opportunities for supporting language skills in babies and toddlers are endless. Every single aisle has something cool for little ones to look at and explore and for caregivers to talk with them about. Whether I’m playing with my son or other kiddos, when introducing new concepts my philosophy is “I do, we do, you do.” Below are examples of my son and I doing and talking together. Have a look at how I’ve been making the most out of otherwise boring visits to the home improvement store.
Blinds/Windows/Doors: “Open” and “Close”
Cabinets: “In” and “Out”
Switches: “Up” and “Down”
Lighting: “On” and “Off”
Tile/Floor/Wall Coverings: “Shiny” and “Dull,” “Bumpy” and “Smooth”
Flooring: “Soft Carpet” and “Look at the picture. Where’s the doggy?” “What’s the kitty cat say?”
Mirrors: Look in mirrors together! Make silly faces, do different actions (wave, clap, jump) and name each other, body parts and articles of clothing.
Gardening: Smell flowers and talk about scents, colors and sizes. We worked on using our nose to smell, not our tongues :)!
Animals: Take your dog along (I know at Lowe’s Home Improvement you can), talk about other dogs you will likely see and of course make doggy sounds.
Paint: Lastly, don’t forget to stop by the paint section and talk about colors. Grab some paint strips and make a color book! My son loves this color book I made him. I simply wrote the color names on the back of the paint strips, laminated them and put them on a notebook ring. I love that it shows the various shades of a color, which helps with color recognition.
If you find yourself in a home improvement store with a lingering man and rambunctious toddler(s), put on your hard hats and go on a language excursion! Doing so stimulates language development and makes for a happy husband and baby…yes please! I actually kind of look forward to going now and we all know…if mama’s happy, everybody’s happy :)! Hope you found this helpful.
Peace & Love,
Respect, kindness and love begin with babies…we must show them the way!