I CAN are a children’s charity that specialise speech, language and communication issues. They have found that 1 in 10 children in the UK suffer from communication issues making it difficult for them to express themselves. Spud was a late talker, he was too busy learning all the physical stuff and when he was about 26 months old his Nursery broached the subject with us. I hadn’t been worried until then because I always assumed that he would just catch up. They agreed to leave him a few months and his speech did progress massively with the help of Flash Cards. However at 2 years and 9 months his Nursery and other relatives were all still concerned about his speech so he was sent to have a developmental check with the Health Visitors with the view that he would probably be referred to Speech and Language therapy. It was discovered that Spud was pretty much spot on where he should be for his age but that he speaks extremely quickly so often sounds like his is talking utter nonsense. We have encouraged him to speak slower but also work hard on his flash cards to give the individual words some clarity. With Spud’s issues it has also made me more aware that I should be encouraging Spike a lot more so when I was offered the chance to review two of I CAN’s speech, language and communication packs I absolutely jumped at the chance.
Babbling Babies and Toddler Talk are designed for babies from birth to three years old and actively encourage all areas of communication and understanding. They are available online for £7.99 for the paperback version and £12,99 for the hardback version. Each pack has 30 activity cards broken down into different categories with Babbling Babies broken down into 3 age groups and Toddler Talk into 3 sections. Each card has a specific activity or idea to help your child’s communication skills thrive.
Babbling Babies is aimed at babies from birth to 18 months and is all about using interaction to your advantage. To teach your baby important skills whilst their brains are working overtime soaking up everything around them like a sponge. The leaflet states that “The best toy for a baby is a responsive adult to interact with.” Spike laps up any attention that he is given so we knew that he would absolutely love the activities we would present him with. The cards are broken down into 5 categories with a different animal for each one. The categories are Playing and interacting, Learning to listen, Learning and understand new words, Expressing myself and Exploring and developing. The cards are then broken down into 0-6 months, 6-12 months and 12-18 months so that each activity is tailored for the correct age group and will hold attention, something that interests a 3 month old certainly won’t hold a 16 month old for very long. The activities range from games like peekaboo to exploring bits and pieces in cardboard boxes. They all actively encourage bonding and socialisation between the parent and the child so even though it might not feel like it is working or that they are learning it is a great experience all round. It was quite difficult to get Spike to sit still but we went with it and when he was co operative (usually when Spud was out) we had some great fun trying out some of the activities. Even something as simple as singing with him from a Learning to Listen card went down extremely well and even though I do this on a daily basis anyway I know that some parents just don’t think to or have the confidence to try it, at least with these cards there are some pointers to get you going.
Toddler Talk is aimed at 18-36 months and is broken down into Attention and listening, Understanding what is said, Building sentence’s and Talking Socially. Each card is broken down into “What you need, how to play” and occasionally “play it a different way.” I found the activities in this pack a lot less obvious and things that wouldn’t even occur to me to try with Spud so it has given us a whole new scope of play. The fact that a lot of the cards also offer other ways to play make them even better so that toddlers can be offered variety. Things like Playing shops and Playing with Teddy not only teach him communication skills but also valuable life skills. The teddy activity includes things like feeding and taking care of the Teddy teaching Spud compassion.
I love the I CAN activity packs. They offer ideas for activities that I wouldn’t even dream of doing and every single one offers me one on one time with my children learning through play. The cards are beautifully illustrated and extremely easy to follow so I would recommend them to anyone regardless of their child’s development.