What can you do with your child(ren) to work on speech and Language skills?
TALK to your child about everything!
Play games with sounds and words.
Have family discussions during meals. Ask "What did you do at school/camp/daycare/friend's house today?" instead of "How was your day?" A more specific question will get more specific answers.
Use absurdities, such as when serving french fries, say "Here are your worms!" Encourage your child to talk about why that's silly.
If you watch television, make it an interactive experience. Talk about what's on the show, what the characters are doing and why, or what they might be thinking.
LISTEN to your child and expand on his or her language.
If your child says, "I want milk," you can reply with "You would like a drink of cold milk?"
Including your child's words acknowledges his or her communication and expanding his or her words teaches new ways to say things.
Be an active listener. Comment on your child's communication: instead of saying "Mmm hmm," try asking about the message. "I wonder why that happened?" or "Wow, that sounds exciting." Show that you are paying attention.
PLAY games and role-playing activities with your child.
Games teach coordination, rule-following, turn-taking, concepts, communication, and vocabulary. Board games, ball games, or card games are all great ideas.
Role-playing, such as school, hospital, house, zoo, store, firefighters, or restaurant helps develop creativity and give your child a chance to learn about life situations and practice new vocabulary and skills.
READ with your child frequently. You and your child can take turns being the "reader" and the "listener." Reading teaches many things, including vocabulary, concepts, and language patterns.
Talk about the pictures and/or the situations in the books.
Read books, magazines, cereal boxes, signs, webpages, emails, comic books.
Visit your local library often.
PROVIDE NEW EXPERIENCES and talk, talk, talk about them! Write about them too, using pictures or photographs to add to the written words. See links for some ideas!
Take field trips. There are many free or inexpensive places to go, including hiking trails (a handicapped-accessible portion of the Appalachian trail is located in Falls Village), small local museums and gardens (i.e. Sloane-Stanley in Kent and Beckley Furnace in North Canaan), and the Sharon Audubon Center.
Make an arts and crafts project together, or a scrapbook of a special event.
Try some science experiments, like a baking-soda volcano, or mixing different bubble soap recipes.
Here are some fun activities to work on a variety of language skills.
- STORY TELLING: Line up 3 or 4 cards or pictures and tell a story. Mix them up and have your child put them back in order and re-tell the story.
Below are some activities you can do to focus on speech sound production. Be sure your child says the sound correctly; if it's not correct, make sure your child "fixes" the sound.
- PLAY BALL: Before your child throws the ball, have him or her say a word, phrase, or sentence that contains their target sound.
- I SPY: Play this game to name or describe items in the room that contain your child's target sound. Let your child have a turn giving clues. On car trips, look for things that contain your child's target sound and make a list. Have a contest to see who can find the most things. Later on, see who can remember the most things that you saw.
- GAMES: Play any board game or card game. Before each turn have your child say a word, phrase, or sentence that contains his or her target sound. You can also say a target word before your turn to provide a good model of how the sound should be produced.
- ARTICULATION CARDS: Use clipart programs or have your child cut picture pairs from magazines that include the target sounds. Paste them onto index cards and laminate them for more durability (you can even use clear Contact paper as laminate). Be sure you have two matching pictures for each, so you can play games such as Concentration or Go Fish. (Be sure your child says each card he or she turns over!) Clip a paper clip onto each card, spread them out upside down on the floor, and tie a magnet to a yardstick or dowel so your child can go "fishing"; each time he or she "catches" a word, have him or her say it or use it in a phrase or sentence.
- TREASURE HUNT: Locate a few items that start with your child's target sound. Hide them around the house and have your child go on a treasure hunt to find them. As your child locates each item, have him or her say the word and then try to use it in a phrase or sentence, if your child is working at that level.
- SOUND COLLAGE/SCRAPBOOK: Have your child look through magazines, etc. to find pictures containing his or her target sound. Paste the pictures onto a large piece of cardboard or tagboard to make a collage, or in a small photo album to make a scrapbook.
- READ: When you are sharing books with your child, have him or her retell the story using the pictures as cues. Your child should try to focus on saying his or her sound correctly during this time.
- LISTEN UP: Tell your child that he or she is listening for his or her target sound. Say a word and ask your child if that word begins with the target sound. For example, ''You're listening for the ''s'' sound. Tell me if this word begins with that sound.'' It is a good idea to use the errors your child makes. If your child says ''w'' for ''r'' then use words starting with these sounds. Keep "score" to see if your child can catch all of your "error" and "correct" sounds.