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Getting ready to use sounds in words

Children often enjoy making sounds because they’re interesting or easy to make. The more fun they have playing with sounds, the more practice they’ll get using them. This practice will help get them ready to use these sounds in words.

​​​​​Playing with sounds

Listen for sounds that you and your child can copy and play with.

  • At first, your child will cry, grunt, and sigh.
  • Then, your child will laugh, coo, and giggle. The main sounds they use will be “aw”, “uh”, “m”, and “buh”. Your child will explore how their voice gets higher, lower, softer, and louder.
  • You child will start to use some different sounds like “oh”, “oo”, “t”, “d”, and “ee”. They will repeat strings of sounds like “mamama” or “bababa”. Have fun with your child by copying their sounds.
  • Soon your child will sound like they’re talking their own language. They will try to copy the sounds you make.
  • Your child will find it fun to make animal noises like “moo” and “meow”. They will also love to make noises like cars, horns, or trains. Encourage and praise them for these first words.
  • Finally, your child will try to say real words like “mama” and “dada”. Many of their words won’t be perfect (e.g., like “duh” for “down” and “doo” for “juice”), but if you repeat them clearly, your child will learn how to say them better.

​​​​​Sounds your child can play with

Sounds in your environment

  • swish-swish
  • tick-tock
  • splash
  • errrrrrr
  • woo-woo-woo
  • woooo
  • ssssssss
  • vroom
  • pitter patter

Fun sounds

  • bang bang
  • jingle-jingle
  • ding
  • choo-choo
  • he-he-he
  • hummmm
  • kerplunk
  • rrrring
  • ah-choo
  • chugga-chugga
  • ha-ha-ha
  • grrrrr
  • oooooo


  • waa-waa
  • wow
  • oh-oh
  • oops
  • ow
  • yeah
  • sh-sh-sh

Animal noises

  • moo
  • baa
  • roar
  • buzzzz
  • quack
  • squeak
  • peep
  • chirp
  • hee-haw​

Where to go get help

For more information about how speech-language pathologists and audiologists can help, contact:

  • Your doctor, public health nurse, or other health provider
  • Your local health centre
  • Visit the Talk ​Box - A parent guide to creating language rich environments

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