Boost your child’s brain power with words
  • Friday 22 September 2017
First 5 Forever

Parent, “How was your day”

Child, “Good”

If this sounds like your day care pick-up conversation, don’t despair, simply re-phrase and ask an open-ended question. You’ll both be talking in no time.

Practical advice is just one element of Sunshine Coast Council’s local First 5 Forever program which, throughout October, will focus on the importance of talking with children under five.

Parents and caregivers can find advice, resources, tips and tricks to help keep the conversation going on council’s library First 5 Forever webpage and via social media.

First 5 Forever speech pathologist Kylie Webb said talking to children under five everyday greatly improved their vocabulary, one of the pre-cursers to reading and writing.

“Whether it’s talking about what we see on our way to the park, singing nursery rhymes, pointing out something we see out the window, or learning new words while shopping for groceries, simply talking with our children and responding helps them learn to communicate,” Ms Webb said.

“Babies and young children learn best by listening and interacting with the important adults in their lives during everyday activities.

“If you’re hanging out the washing, talk about the weather, is it sunny, windy, calm, what are you hanging, what colour are they? Describe each item as you hang it using colour or shape.

“Casually repeating what younger children have said and placing words into a full sentence is enough to help them learn, so ‘milk gone’, becomes ‘your milk is all gone and you’d like some more?’.

“For older children, try playing i-spy or rhyming games, talk about what the road signs mean, talk about what you’re cooking or ask them to help.

“Family and friends also play a really important role, so talking on the phone, video calling all help enhance a child’s vocabulary.

“It really is as simple as incorporating conversation into everyday life and seeing opportunities to chat everywhere.”

Sunshine Coast Libraries’ young people’s librarian Karen Gawen said council offered a range of support to early learners and their caregivers.

“We aim to give parents and caregivers the support, resources and ideas to help them to talk, read, sing and play with their children, anytime, anywhere. The first five years really do last a lifetime,” Ms Gawen said.

“Our libraries offer a wonderful selection of books, but also so much more.

“In each of our libraries you’ll find free toy libraries, play activity stations, regular interactive sessions like rhyme-time and story-time plus occasional sessions such as dance with me and baby yoga.

“Plus we’re out on the road. We take our mobile libraries into the community and host a range of roving sessions at parks, playgroups, events and mother’s groups across the region.

“And for those too busy to attend our libraries or roving sessions, we have a wealth of e-resources such as songs, books and movies plus a host of useful resources, articles and the ability to choose your books, CDs or DVDs, reserve them online and collect from a library of your choice.”

To find out more about the First5Forever program, events for children or library services visit

Coming up:

Libraries on the Move

A morning of stories, games, dress-ups and fun. Free, no bookings required, bring your teddy bear, hat and picnic blanket.

  • Muller Park, Bli Bli: Monday, November 13, 9.30am – 11am

 Musical Play

  • Parents and their toddlers are invited to come along and enjoy a range of stimulating play based music activities including singing, movement, instrument play and stories Free. Bookings essential. Ages 0 – 5 years. One booking per family.

  • Various library locations from October 9-30, 9.30am

Sunshine Storytime

Bring your children to the Sunshine Plaza for a very special Storytime session. There will be lots of fun for toddlers and their care givers. Stories, songs and some of the best picture books our libraries have to offer. No booking required


  • Riverwalk Stage, Sunshine Plaza: Wednesday, October 18, 9am – noon