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    “Pretend play also facilitates learning for children,” says Ereneta-del Rosario. Bring out the thespian in you and act out a scene from a story with your toddler. You don’t have to put on a grand performance; the best props and costumes can be found in your home.

    Balikbayan boxes make for fabulous pretend castles; bed sheets, majestic capes for little kings and princesses. You can use any item as a prop, and then ask your toddler to mimic a character in the story.
    Helping hand
    Bring a character to life! Make a puppet out of brown paper bags, socks, or popsicle sticks. Talk with the puppet, saying familiar lines from a book. Remember: The more colorful and creative your puppet is, the better entertainer it will be.
    Hear ye! Hear ye!
    If you’re a busy parent, pop in a CD that plays your child’s favorite story. “Audio books are good materials for your toddler,” says Hulleza-Sepe. “The voice alone stimulates him, plus there are other sounds, too.”
    Ereneta-del Rosario suggests looking for music or sounds appropriate to a story. “If I’m reading a book about Halloween, for example, I’d play eerie sounds or play suitable sound effects at the appropriate scene.” You can also come up with a melody, and insert the story’s lines as lyrics for your very own song.
    There are a hundred ways to tell a story that would rouse your child’s interest and imagination. The important thing is, these stories must not only be entertaining, but enriching as well. Your toddler’s young mind is growing at a rapid pace, and a library full of books is your best aid in helping him along.
    • Myra Hulleza-Sepe, storyteller, Kuwentong Adarna Reading Program, Adarna House, Quezon City
    • Patricia Ereñeta-del Rosario, preschool teacher, Learning Jungle International School, Ortigas, Pasig City
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