Weather chitchat may be the ultimate in humdrum small talk for adults. But for babies, it is anything but boring! Everything is new to your tot. Discussing and explaining the weather is a simple way to help him learn lots of new words and learn about the world around him. Check out these wheres and hows for talking about the weather together.
1. Where to watch the weather: From your window
What to look for: Colors, like blue sky, gray clouds, green leaves, or white snow
What to say: “The sky is blue today! That means we have sunshine,” or “I see yellow leaves on the ground! The weather is getting cooler and the leaves are turning from green to yellow.”
What to do: Point out the colors as you notice them. Hold baby up to the window so she gets a good view.
How to engage your baby: Try looking through different windows and pointing out similarities and differences. Maybe you see puffy white clouds from the kitchen window, but only bright blue sky from the bedroom.
2. Where to watch the weather: In your yard or at the park
What to look for: Things baby can touch
What to say: “The grass is wet. That’s from the rain we saw this morning,” or “The sunshine is making these bricks feel warm.”
What to do: Show your baby how he can pat the ground (Is it wet or dry? Cool or warm? Smooth or rough?) or crumble a dried leaf. Just be sure he doesn’t put anything in his mouth!
How to engage your baby: Revisit the same spot often (a corner of your garden, or a particular bench or tree at the park) so you can talk about changes and notice the effects of the weather. Point out flower and leaf buds emerging, rain puddling, or dirt that’s hard and dry or soft and damp.
3. Where to watch the weather: On a walk
What to look for: Temperature changes and wind
What to say: “I am glad we wore our jackets. It is chilly today!” or “I feel a warm breeze blowing.”
What to do: Share words for all kinds of temperatures, from hot and humid to freezing cold. Help your baby notice the wind: Is it a gentle breeze, or blustery gusts? Note: Be sure to dress your baby appropriately for the temperature and stay inside during weather extremes (very high or low temperatures, lightning, and so on).
How to engage your baby: After your walk, blow bubbles to make air currents visible. Point out how the bubbles float gently when there is a slight breeze, or blow away and pop quickly when the wind is stronger.
4. Where to watch the weather: On a special outing (like the beach or a lake)
What to look for: Unique sights and sounds
What to say: “The sun is bright here by the water! That’s why we need our hats and sunglasses,” or “The sand feels so warm under our feet.”
What to do: Show your baby what’s special where you are: ocean waves, hot sand, bright sun, gray gulls, and tall grasses or reeds blowing in the wind.
How to engage your baby: Think about your little one’s five senses and how each one is being stimulated on your outing. Talk about what she’s hearing, seeing, smelling, and touching (let’s hope she is not tasting anything besides a picnic lunch). Weather words are all around you: sunny, cloudy, cool, warm, drizzly, dry, and so on.
5. Where to watch the weather: In a picture book
What to look for: Books with weather words, either themed board books or stories such as The Snowy Day or Gossie and Gertie
What to say: “Gossie has red boots for rainy days. We can wear rain boots and walk in the rain, too,” or “Look at that bright yellow sun.”
What to do: Go beyond the text on the page to talk with your baby about the action and pictures in the book. Point out weather words and concepts he has seen and experienced for himself.
How to engage your baby: Interacting while reading helps build your baby’s language skills and vocabulary, plus it keeps him interested in what you are doing. Ask him questions, even if he is not old enough to answer. Let him try to make the sounds you’re making.