Your toddler might act like a total monkey, but that doesn't mean he'll automatically know what sounds one makes. Imitating animal sounds might seem like simple fun, but they can actually help usher along speech development milestones for your tiny talker. As your little one learns the sounds his favorite animals make, he will learn about letter sounds and inflection. A simple lesson in animal sounds will help create a pathway to talking. As usual, play is the way to go when teaching your toddler something new, so limber up your voice and get ready to moo, cluck and neigh with the best of 'em.
Load your smartphone or tablet with animal sounds apps, which you can find on your smartphone's app store or marketplace. Usually the apps work by offering up pictures of an animal, which your toddler can touch to hear the sound — ideal for when you need a few minutes of quiet time but still want your child to do something educational.
Play with animal toys and push your pride to the side as you act out various animal sounds. A package of plastic toy animals can be purchased cheaply and it'll help for your little one to hear the animal noises in conjunction with seeing the animal.
Read a book that specifically focuses on animal sounds, such as Eric Carle's "The Very Busy Spider," or " Patricia Polacco's "Mommies Say 'Shh!'" Reading helps your little one visualize while listening to the storyline, and she'll love hearing your versions of each animal. Have her mimic your sounds or see if she can guess what the animal in the book will sound like.
Sing a song that incorporates animal noises — "Old McDonald Had a Farm," anyone? Because the sounds are included along with the song, it makes them easy to remember and more exciting for your little one. Other songs you can try include "Baa, Baa Black Sheep," and "Animal Fair" — or, make up your own together.
Pretend that you don't remember which animal makes which sound and have your little one correct you. Stating very matter-of-factly that a cow says "meow" will probably have your toddler giggling and ready to play teacher as she educates you.