For speech activities to do at home, books are the best! You can read books with your child and ask questions about the pages, even if it just asking him/her to identify one picture on each page. For example, when reading "Brown Bear, Brown Bear", read the book and talk about each page. For example when reading "I see a red bird looking at me" (turn page to see red bird) and say "here's the red bird", "it's flying in the sky," "look how big the wings are." Make sure your child is able to understand what you are reading by asking questions requiring him/her just to point ("show me the red bird", "where is the wing?"). To help your child express themselves ask questions requiring them to speak ("what color is the bird?", "where does he fly?"). If it is difficult for your child to come up with the answers on their own, give them choices ("where does he fly?...in the water or in the sky?"). To help with articulation, ask your child to label pictures that have their targeted speech sound on them (so if your child is working on saying the /f/ sound ask them to label the feet, face, fur, feathers, etc.). For each page, keep the sentences simple. On the last page of Brown Bear, have your child point to all the animals as you name them in random order. Also, read favorite books over and over and encourage him/her to join in with words he/she knows will come next. Encourage pretend reading (letting your child "read" a book to you).
Play verbal games, such as:
- Guess What (Guess what has sharp teeth and orange/black stripes?)
- Yes or No ("Dogs have 2 feet", child says "no")
- Which One Doesn't Belong and Why?: ("apple, milk, banana")
- Categories: "sock, shirt, pants" (child says "clothes")
- Categories: Parent says "clothes", child says "socks, pants, shirts"
- "Hotter/Colder": hide something and guide with clues
- I Spy
- Play "Simon Says". Start out by being "Simon", giving directions like "touch your nose", "touch the floor", "clap your hands", "walk to the door" and work up to harder ones like "touch your knees and clap your hands", "put a jelly bean under the napkin," etc. Playing with older siblings/friends is great. Then have your child be "Simon" and help him to give the directions if needed.
There are a lot of board games that are wonderful for developing vocabulary and language. Some of our favorites include: Memory, Zingo, Pictionary Jr., Cranium Cariboo, Cranium Balloon Lagoon, Sequence for Kids, and Cat in the Hat I Can Do That! Game, Apples to Apples (Jr. edition too), and Guess Who Extra.
There is a website, http://playonwords.com/
with lists of books, games, and toys that are recognized as ones that encourage language (look for the “all PAL Award winners” link on the left). Consider these items when it is time to shop for birthdays or holidays.
If you have specific questions about how to help your child with their specific communication goals, please call or e-mail us and we will happy to help support you.