Trying to keep on top of your child’s speech and language therapy targets can be tricky at times, especially now when there has been such a big and sudden change to everyone’s routine. The following are ways of working on speech and language targets through everyday activities at home.
Books: Books are the perfect language tool. For younger children books are important for listening and learning new vocabulary. Children learn words when they are interested-read books that interest your child. If your child is working on ‘Wh’ questions books are great opportunity to work on this. As you are reading the book and looking at the pictures you can ask your child ‘wh’ questions about what they are seeing or hearing-‘What colour is the boys jumper?, ‘who is climbing the tree?’ ‘where is he hiding?’ ‘why is she sad?’. Books are great for learning prepositions also. Use the pictures in the books and comment on the characters, eg. ‘the boy is in the car’, ‘the cat is on the mat’. Put emphasis on the preposition as you comment. Books are also great for expressive language skills-you and your child could act out the story and add in your own parts. You and your child could also look at the pictures in the book and generate your own story about them. For older children books can be used to work on sequencing skills for telling stories-ask your child to tell you the story again in their own words. Stories are also great for children learning about emotions-you and your child can talk about how the characters in the story feel and why and how the emotions might change during the story.
Movement games: If your child is working on Following Directions, there are many ways this can be practised at home. Simon Says is a great and easy game to incorporate this language target. If your child is working on following two step instructions you could give them directions such as: ‘shake your head and say ‘hello!’. If your child is working on three step instructions you could say ‘walk to the door, say hello, then cross your fingers’. Make the instructions silly and get your child moving during the activity. Another activity you could do is a ‘treasure hunt’ where your child must listen and follow the directions you give them to find an item.
Playdough: Playdough is something that is probably found in most houses. It is something I use with many of the children I see as it can target a number of areas of language. Playdough is great for attention and listening. You could turn it into a game where your child must wait for you to say ‘go’ before they make something with it. It is also great for targeting understanding of language-tell your child what to make, eg. ‘make a star’, ‘make a dog’. You could make the instruction a little more complex by adding size or colour, eg. ‘make a green star’, ‘make a small dog’. Playdough is also great for targeting early concepts, eg. big/small, long/short.
Cooking: If your child enjoys helping out with cooking or baking, this is a great opportunity to target verbs. Cutting, pouring, mixing, eating, stirring and shaking are verbs you could use while cooking. Comment on what you or what your child is doing as you cook, eg. ‘you are mixing’, ‘mum is cutting’.
Speech sounds: Sometimes it can be difficult to work on speech sounds at home. There are ways this target can be made fun! Turn it into a movement game-hide the target words/pictures around the house and turn it into a word/picture hunt. When your child finds the word/picture they will tell you what it is. For example, if your child is currently working on the ‘s’ sound-hide words/pictures with the s sound around the house and your child can then complete the hunt to find all the pictures.
If you would like to arrange an appointment with any of the Sensational Kids Speech and Language Therapists to discuss your child’s language development, please do not hesitate to make contact through our nationwide child development centres. We are now providing virtual care services using a secure virtual healthcare video conferencing system. You can also request for a therapist to call you over the phone.
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