Imitation Skills: Mirror Game

Mirrors are a wonderful way to teach imitation and other speech and language skills! Also, babies love them and you can buy some baby friendly mirrors pretty cheaply these days.


To review, imitation is one of the most common ways children learn language and many other skills. Therefore, practicing imitation at a young age is crucial.

Imitation targets the following baby language milestones:

  • Coos 
  • Babbles 
  • Makes sounds while playing 
  • Vocalizes to get attention 
  • Waves bye 
  • Laughs 
  • Imitates sounds (i.e., ah, ba) 
  • Joint attention

How to Play:

How to "play" will depend on the actions and abilities of your child. Sit down in front of a baby mirror or floor mirror. If needed, hold the baby in your hands so you can look into a mirror such as a bathroom mirror.

 Below are some common activities that most children at this age will enjoy. 

1 Babbling: If your child is babbling or making any sounds, bring them in front of mirror. This way, your child can see his or her mouth moving as sounds are being made. Then, imitate your child's babbling. Bring attention to your mouth as you talk. If your child joins the game and then imitates you, try to to change the babbling a little bit. 

Example Script:

  • Baby: baba
  • Parent: baba
  • Baby: baba
  • Parent: bababoo
  • Baby: bababoo

2 Kissing: You may have to take the lead on this game unless your child has already kissed a mirror before. My child never did this so I had to model it. First, kiss the mirror and make it funny. Encourage your child to try. If he or she doesn't imitate at first, don't push it. If your child does imitate, laugh and have fun. You can even add "muah."

3. Waving: Sit in front of a mirror and see if your child will make any kind of movement. If he or she does, imitate it while making it fun! If your child doesn't do this, start the game by making a gesture such as waving. See if your child will imitate. You can even do hand-over-hand. 

4. Funny Faces: Scrunching up faces, sticking out tongues, laughing, and making funny noises are all good ways to grab your child's attention. See if you can get a laugh, and if your child is enjoying himself or herself, he or she might join in. Yeah!

5. Anything Your Child Does: Now, this is the easiest one to do. While sitting in front of a mirror, do anything that your child does. If your child laughs, waves, bangs, babbles, do it! Done!

Points to Remember for Imitation Games

The information below is very important; therefore, you will see it repeated under each imitation activity. Repetition is key, even for adults!

  1. To teach imitation at this age, you will start by imitating your child. After you imitate your child and then he or she repeats the action, your child has just imitated you! Yeah! Once this happens, try to add a new movement or sound to your "game" and see if your child can repeat the new version. This will expose him or her to new sounds and actions.
  2. Make it fun and silly to keep his or her attention!
  3. Imitating words and/or motor movements at this age is appropriate.

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