Extend their play (and we don’t just mean time!)

What do we mean when we say our Little Birdie Books activities ‘extends’ your child’s play?

Well, we mean a few things:

1. Your child’s play will no longer stay in the simple ‘here and now’ but instead be linked to a book that was read in the more complex ‘there and then’. In other words, by sharing a sustained experience like a book-related activity, your child’s language and cognitive skills are enriched (past tense structures, memory recall, narrative retell, rich vocabulary, cognitive flexibility.)

2. Weaker skills are addressed rather than avoided. We all know that we do more of the things we prefer and we get better at these things as a result. Children are no different. While some children may willingly try something new or tricky, others will avoid less preferred activities, creating a Matthew Effect (the strong skills get stronger and the weak skills get weaker). Our #littlebirdiebooks activities will highlight any challenges with fine motor skills, executive functioning abilities and/or speech and language skills. Using #lbbactivities with my own children, I have discovered the need to work on planning/sequencing with my daughter and fine motor skills with my son.

So while we spend much of our parenting time playing to our child’s strengths and letting them led the play, there is certainly a place for nudging your child to persist with a different activity, just as there is as much merit in encouraging your child to try a new vegetable.

3. We are extending responsive relationships between you and your child, an essential part of health brain architecture. This type of interaction is described as a ‘serve and return’ (like a tennis match!) reciprocal relationship because the interaction goes both ways. When a child initiaties, the parent gives a respones that is connecting to the child has said/done, or vice versa. These types of interactions builds your child’s brains! How? Brain imaging has helped us to understand the impact of nurturing, supportive interactions on brain function and structure.

“Neuroimaging revealed a neural mechanism by which language experience may influence brain development; namely, children who experienced more conversational turns exhibited greater activation in left inferior frontal regions (Broca’s area) during language processing, which explained nearly half the relationship between children’s language exposure and verbal abilities.”

Romeo et al., 2018

In the early years, we have the privilege to build strong neural connections that are the foundation for all of a child’s future learning, behavior, and health. 

So, how do we help? Our 6 month membership helps you discover some of the ways our books and engaging activities help to ‘extend their play’ (in an engaging way)!

Happy reading and playing!

Romeo, R.R., Leonard, J.A., Robinson, S.T. et al. (2018). Beyond the 30-million-word gap: Children’s conversational exposure is associated with language-related brain function. Psychological Science29(5), 700-710.

Learning how print works

The home literacy environment is a well-established predictor of children’s language and literacy development (Frijters, Barron, & Brunello, 2000; Levy, Gong, Hessels, Evans, & Jared, 2006; Senechal & Lefevre, 2002). 

What IS the “home literacy environment” (HLE)? In research, this usually refers to activities by family members at home that relate to literacy learning as well as the literacy resources in the home and parental attitudes toward literacy. 


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What do I need to know about 5 year olds?

Between the ages of 4 and 5, your child will conquer one huge milestone: starting school. What speech, language, play and social skills do they need to know? We get asked by many parents whether they need to know their alphabet, or how to read before they get to school. Let’s see what communication and play skills 5 year olds should demonstrate and how you can continue supporting your child’s learning. Keep reading or listen to the blog below:

Continue reading “What do I need to know about 5 year olds?”