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The Animal Kingdom


Take inspiration from the animal kingdom to have fun communicating with your child this month! Animal sounds are often some of the early “words” children say, as they share enjoyment in reading a colourful book or during play with toy animals. Encourage your babies and toddlers to make animal sounds and respond to their productions of those sounds as if they are words. Play with your voice by varying your intonation and volume while you are saying the sounds to make them sound fun and interesting. Loud animal sounds could include a lion’s “roar”, a cow’s “moo” and a horses “neigh”. Softer animal sounds could include a bird’s “chirp” or a bee’s “buzz”.

You can increase your child’s vocabulary for animals by listening to what they are saying, and modelling the appropriate word for that animal. That is, when your child starts to say animal sounds or attempts to name them (e.g. “woof” for dog or “wave” for giraffe), imitate them and say the name of the animal slowly and clearly, e.g. say, “yes, woof….dog. A dog says woof!” Use your voice to emphasise the animal name.

Older children may already be naming animals. Try categorising animals together, such as animals that can be pets, animals that live in the jungle, animals that live in the countryside etc.

Talk about the specific names for animals, the features (e.g. horse’s mane, fetlock), their habitat and the foods they eat. You could also talk about the names for their young, such as a calf, a fawn, a joey.

Some activities to try at home are:

  • Reading: Select picture books e.g. “Where’s Spot?”, “Animalia”, “The Wonkey Donkey”. Older children may enjoy choosing information books that have detailed illustrations about animals they like.

  • Drawing and craft: Paint, draw, create animals to show all the specific features of the animals (shapes, patterns, colours, body parts).

  • Role Play: Dress-ups, face painting, moving bout in the way each animal moves, animal sounds.

  • Charades: Play Charades together encouraging everyone to guess the animal.

  • Sounds & letters: Listen for the first sound in animal names, count the syllables in animal names (e.g. elephant = 3, hippopotamus = 5), try to spell how an animal name phonetically.

  • Sing songs and nursery rhymes together.

  • Use gestures to signify different animals e.g. raised paws for a bear, snakey arm, movements, creeping fingers, hop like a kangaroo.

If you would like further information about any of the above information, please contact Catherine on 0417 255 062.

Catherine Downs

Catherine Downs

Catherine Down is Platinum Pre School's preffered Speech Pathologist, she writes specifically tailored articles for the Platinum Newsletter and advises our staff on questions related to childhood speech development. Catherine is a Certified Practising Speech Pathologist (CPSP) with Speech Pathology Australia (SPA) and is an affiliate member of the American Speech - Language - Hearing Association (ASHA).

Catherine holds a BA in Psychology from the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) and a BAppSc of Speech Pathology from The University of Sydney. Catherine's qualifications and experience give her a unique set of skills for dealing with clients who are having communication, literacy and learning difficulties.

To find out more about Catherine's services or to book an appointment, please call Catherine on 0417 255 062 or visit her website -

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