Would it get your attention if you were in line at a coffee shop and someone clapped their hands and started shouting, “YAY!!” Kind of random, but yes, I think it might capture your attention. This will have the same effect on your little one! When you exaggerate and repeat fun, silly exclamatory words, you will capture your toddler’s attention. These words are also motivating because you can often use them during playtime. Here are 10 of our favorite EASY and FUN exclamatory words to use during playtime and how to incorporate them into your day:
- “YAY”: When your little one does something exciting, shout – “YAY!!!” While clapping your hands, then wait and see the response you get. Most likely you will have your little one’s attention and then you can say the word again! Each time something positive, new, or exciting happens exclaim “YAY”, and they just may attempt to imitate you!⠀
- “EWW”: This one really gets kids communicating. From early on I would pretend to smell my little one’s feet and then say “ewww” or “pee-you” while pretending to whiff the smell away from my nose. This one is SO hilarious to kids and they can’t help but come back for more stinky fun!
- “BOO”: This is a classic! Let’s go back to the basics on this one and think about good ole’ Peek-A-Boo! Now let’s get a blanket involved. Go under the blanket (I like to wave and say “bye-bye” before I disappear under the blanket) and when your little one is trying to find you, you will pop out and exclaim “BOO”!
- “OUCH”: As a speech therapist, I am Captain Ouch. I don’t think I am capable of playing with a little person or character without making them topple over and say “OUCH” or “OWW”. I also like to then point to a body part on the character and say “boo-boo” or “She got a boo-boo on her head…OUCH”. For some weird reason, kids love when characters get hurt so why not use this as a language opportunity?!
- “WHOA”: All aboard! For this, I like to get a few Little People on a vehicle and make it take off quickly causing all the people to fall over as I say “WHOA”. I also enjoy stacking nesting blocks into a tall tower and shaking it from side to side while saying “WHOA”. This may be more fun for me than the kids!
- “BOOM”: I can’t do “WHOA” without following it up with a good “BOOM”! So stack that tower up, wobble it around and then when it crashes to the ground shout “BOOM”! The “destroy and rebuild” cycle keeps the little ones wanting more and more destructive fun!
- “WEE”: Nothing is more fun than going down a super slide, right?! But, you don’t even need a real slide to do this one. A slide can be made out of anything! Try a wrapping paper tube or just tilting your couch cushion diagonally and letting Little People slide down and obviously don’t forget to shout “WEEEEEE”!
- “UH-OH”: This is my go-to whenever something “goes wrong” or unexpected. This is the phrase I use anytime something is dropped on the floor and when I really want to target “UH-OH” you can find me knocking things over or dropping things on the floor repetitively and on purpose. Why? Because little ones enjoy when things don’t go as expected!
- “NOM-NOM”: I can’t help but visualize Pac-Man chasing moving cherries when I hear or say “NOM-NOM-NOM”. It is easy to associate this fun sound with eating and your little one will too! I use this during play and have characters say “NOM-NOM-NOM” while they are eating pretend food. But I also use this during snack and meal-time as my toddler takes a bite of food. I will often say “Eat. NOM-NOM-NOM”, while taking a bite of their food as well…(Does anyone else feel like a child food garbage disposal?)
- “POP”: Pull out those bubbles! You can use them outside or in the bathtub and every time you pop a bubble you can say “POP”. Bubbles are beautiful and mesmerizing to our little ones, which leave them wanting more!
Do you want to learn even more first words to teach your baby? How about words that will allow your toddler to communicate their wants and needs with ease? If your baby is between newborn and 14 months old, you should look into our course called Talk On Track! We teach our evidence-based “I TALK” technique designed to help babies meet communication milestones. One of the Talk On Track modules is called “Key Words”. We researched and compiled a list of 45 functional focus words that are simple to say, easy to understand and help to get needs and wants met! So if you want even more support and an amazing list of first words, check out Talk On Track!