I frequently use the adorable Maisy book series by Lucy Cousins to introduce early story telling to toddlers. Doctor Maisy tells a simple, but engaging sequence of events about two animal friends playing doctor, including: listening to a heart beat, taking a temperature, and putting someone sick to bed.
One concern I hear from parents of toddlers is that they have difficulty engaging their child in reading. Many parents comment that their child will sit for a few familiar books, but that it’s hard to maintain their attention as they try introduce new books. What I’ve found is that oftentimes, the books being introduced are too high level and it’s hard for parents to discover new books that are just right for children aged 12 to 30 months, particularly if their child has a language delay.
The Maisy series is my go-to recommendation for families. I love the recurring animal characters and that the author writes about familar daily routines and events. Here are a few of my favorites for two age groups: 12 to 18 months: Maisy’s Fire Engine, Maisy’s Bedtime, Maisy’s Train. 18 to 30 months: Maisy Goes to Preschool, Maisy Learns to Swim, Maisy Goes to the Library.
A simple family extension to Doctor Maisy is to play doctor using only a baby doll and a handful of band-aids. Little C enjoyed peeling the band-aids and putting them on his baby’s boo boos. I used our play as an opportunity to review lesser-known body parts—such as neck, cheeks, ankles, and wrist—and Little C readily pointed them out on himself and his baby. Although Little C only wanted to play for for a few minutes, I was most excited when I heard him use new word combinations. It’s a good reminder that when we are both engaged in the same activity together, natural, spontaneous language will follow.