The amount of language that happens naturally throughout our day is immense. Even some of the most classic childhood past times involve fundamental speech and language skills. The ultimate goal of speech-language therapy is for your child to generalize the speech and language skills he is learning in the therapy room to his day to day life. By incorporating several minutes of targeted speech-language practice into your child’s life, the better the prognosis it is for your child to be successful! Try one of these easy speech-language activities at home and your child might not even realize they are practicing his language!
5 quick and easy speech and language activities:
- Categories Game – Choose a general vocabulary category, such as food or animals, and try to come up with as many items within that category as possible. If your child becomes stumped, provide him with semantic clues, for example, “Can you think of other farm animals?” or “What animal lives in a jungle and has stripes?”. The category game is an easy way to increase a child’s semantic network and to introduce him to new vocabulary words. The game can even become competitive by keeping track of the number of items stated and trying to increase that number each week.
- Simon Says – This classic game targets a core skill in a child’s receptive language – following directions. This game can be made simple by using one-step directions (e.g., “Clap your hands 3 times) or made more challenging, progressing to two-three step directions (e.g., “Clap your hands 3 times and turn around in a circle). Improving a child’s receptive language will have a positive impact on his ability to succeed in the classroom.
- I Spy – Increasing a child’s utterance length, such as increasing a child’s average utterance from three to four word sentences, is a common goal in speech-language therapy. The game “I Spy” is a great way to work on a child’s expressive language in a fun way. The game can be tailored to a child’s skill level – working on 3-word sentences (“I see cat”) or progressing to a 5-word sentence (“I see a brown cat”). Descriptive words can also be incorporated. The best part of this game is that it can be used for improving advanced language as well, such as using complex sentences (“I see something that is brown).
- Board games – Any activity that involves taking turns provides a great way to practice using pronouns. During a game have someone announce whose turn it is – “It is my turn”, “It is your turn”. Not only can it be used to announce turns, but also to describe the items that people have, “I have three pieces and you have two pieces”. As a child’s language skills improve, third-person pronouns can be practiced, such as “It’s her/his turn” or “She/He is on a blue square”.
- Decorating a Letter – If a child has articulation or speech sound goals, these skills can also be easily practiced. Cut a block letter out of construction paper that is the same as your child’s speech goals. Go through a magazine to search for items that have that target sound within its name – in the beginning, middle or end. For example, if your child is working on saying the “k” sound at the beginning of words, look for pictures of items that have that sound – cat, can, kangaroo, etc. Cut the pictures out and glue them on your letter! The decorated letter can then be hung up and referenced at later times for additional practice.
Check in with your child’s speech-language therapist to ensure the activity is appropriate for your child. He or she may have suggestions on how to best adapt the game or activity to your child’s skill level.