If you thought fireflies were only fun at night, you haven’t met Freddie. Freddie the Firefly provides lots to talk about as your baby explores his colors, textures, sounds and activities. Babies are hard-wired to learn language, but their language is stimulated when you talk to them. You need to choose toys with many features that are flexible, so as your child picks up the toy day after day, you have plenty to chat about.
Take advantage of Freddie’s language-enhancing features to stimulate your baby.
• Find a Friendly Face: Great language toys always have a face. Babies, attracted to faces at birth, talk more to faces. When a toy has a face, it becomes animated so you can feed it a meal, take it for a ride or have a chat. The black and white contrasts on Freddie’s back attract your newborn who loves to look for patterns in darks and lights. Talk about the dots, circles and wavy lines. By three months, your baby can distinguish most colors so Freddie’s bright contrasting colors are a feast for baby’s eyes.
• Colorful Contrasts: Explore Freddie with your baby, describing the colorful contrasts: red, orange, purple, green, turquoise, and black.• Feels Good: Give names to the textures: soft, furry, white ball; smooth, shiny green bump; fuzzy turquoise pocket; hard, bumpy red ladybug; smooth shiny, peek-a-boo mirror; slippery antennas and hard circular rings.
• Sounds Alive: Freddy sounds alive with his squeaker, crinkly wings, rattle, and clinking rings.
• Take Action: A good language toy is flexible with moving parts so you can vary your play with your child. Freddie is ready to play peek-a-boo with his mirrored wing and hide and seek with his ladybug under the wing and in his pocket. Offer Freddie a snack, fly him around the room, or let him take a nap perhaps with a washcloth for his blanket.
As your baby starts to pick up Freddie the Firefly and explore his features, you should describe what he is looking at. Research shows that when you follow your child’s attention and talk about what he is looking at, he takes in more language. At first you will be holding Freddie and describing his features to your baby. But, as he starts reaching and selecting a toy that interests him (5-6 months), you will want to stop directing the commentary and follow your child’s lead. Talk about what he is looking at, mouthing, or feeling.