What Does the Cat Say?
Ask the question about various animals, then answer it yourself, making exaggerated animal sounds. The noise will attract even a newborn. By 4 to 5 months, she'll try making similar sounds.
Why it's so great: This teaches your child how to imitate those around her. "Although people do it naturally, imitation is extremely important, both emotionally and cognitively," says Dr. Elicker. When you meow back, your child realizes she's got your attention and discovers that her actions get a response. The basic sounds - -mooing, neighing, oinking -- are stepping-stones toward speech development.
How to make it even better: Give the game extra learning power by holding up a book with a picture of a cat as you make the meowing sound. "Your baby will make the connection," says Dr. Elicker.
Copyright © 2007. Used with permission from the September 2007 issue of Parents magazine.