Using Descriptive Words

​What Does it Look, Feel and Taste Like?

Some objects are around babies all the time. These objects don't get interesting until one becomes different from all the others.

  • For example, your baby sees stacks of diapers by the changing table every day. A STINKY diaper or a WET diaper becomes more interesting than one of those in the stack.
  • When you get a DRY, CLEAN diaper and put it on, then your baby likes to know the name for that comfortable feeling.
  • You can use words for how things look, feel, smell and taste over and over again.
  • Concept words pop up throughout the day.  

During our busy lives, it can be easy to hurry through some of these ordinary routines. Remember that by slowing down, you can provide learning opportunities for your little one.

Use Concept Words and Descriptions in Everyday Routines

Concept words are highlighted in green. Notice the repetition AND the variety.

SituationConcepts and descriptions we can use

Waking up time

Waking Up Time 

​"Good morning, sweetie. Are you WET? (baby lifts arms)

UP we go…let's take a bath.

OOOh that water feels WARM.

(baby grins and splashes)

You LOVE your bath.

(parent wipes baby…)

 A WET face. WET feet. WET arms.

(baby shivers)

You are getting COLD now.

Let's get a WARM towel.

DRY you off."

Breakfast in the high chair

Breakfast in the high chair 

​"Mmmmm cereal! Take a bite!

(baby eats)

It tastes WARM and YUMMY.

(baby reaches toward spoon)

Oh, you want MORE? MORE cereal.

(baby puts hand in hair)

UH OH, some cereal in your hair.

That's STICKY."



​(Your toddler is exploring bowls and cups from kitchen cabinets while parents are getting dinner ready).

"What did you find?  

That bowl is BIG.

PULL the lid OFF.

(toddler struggles to get it off and fusses.) Oh that's HARD. I will help.

(toddler smiles and looks up as lid comes off).

You got the lid OFF. What a BIG lid! (toddler tries it on her head).

Oh, FUNNY…you made a BIG HAT!"

(toddler works to get the lid back on)

Put it ON.PUSH."



​(Baby yawns).

"Are you SLEEPY?  

It's nap time.

 You want your BIG blanket?

(baby takes it and feels it)

It is so SOFT.

You love your BIG blanket. Nightie night."

Remember to use words for:

  • Size: Big/little, tall/short
  • Appearance: cute, pretty, broken, dirty
  • Touch: cold/hot, wet/dry, hard/soft, heavy/light
  • Taste: sour, sweet
  • Smell: stinky, m-m-m-good
  • Speed: fast/slow
  • Direction: up/down, in/out
  • Sound: loud/quiet, name the sound (Listen! That was the phone!)