10 Ways to Practice Speech & Language at the Grocery Store

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Mom at SuperMarket with KidYou’ve got errands to run and groceries to buy. The weekly to-do’s are piling up, and there’s little time left over for educational activities and focusing on your child’s development. But did you know the grocery store has endless opportunities to practice speech and language skills? Here are a few fun tips to keep your child learning while still finding time for errands.

10 Ways To Promote Speech At The SuperMarket:

1. Turn your grocery list into a scavenger hunt.

Choose items on your grocery list, and give your child clues as to where it might be. Encourage your child to cross items off the list as they put them in the cart (e.g. “We’re looking for a vegetable. Where do you think we might find it?”).

Target skills: listening, problem solving, categories

2. Play a category game.

Encourage your child to find objects based on the color, food group, texture, or temperature. For example, you might encourage your child to find “3 red things”, “2 cold things” or “1 dairy product”.

Target skills: listening, categories

3. Play “I spy”.

Give your child 3 clues about a secret item, and encourage your child to guess what the item is. For example, you might say “I’m thinking of something that is cold, it goes in the freezer, and you eat it on a cone!”

Target skills: listening, categories

4. Play the “Alphabet Game”.

Go through the alphabet, and search for items that begin with each letter of the alphabet. For example, you might encourage your child “What begins with A?… apple begins with A! Can you think of something that begins with B?”

Target skills: alphabet, letter-sound recognition

5. Plan a fun snack together.

Help your child make a list of items needed for their snack. Write down each step needed to prepare the snack (e.g. “First I will wash the celery. Next, I will put peanut butter on the celery. Last, I will put raisons on top!”). Encourage your child to share their snack with family and friends, and describe how they made it.

Target skills: executive function, sequencing, expressive language, social communication

6. Give your child special roles.

Encourage your child to listen to your directions, and find items that you ask for. For example, ask your child to “put 3 apples in the bag” or “put 1 box of crackers at the bottom of the cart.”

Target skills: following directions, location concepts, listening

7. Have a speech-sound contest.

Find items that begin with specific speech sounds. For example, if your child is learning to say “s”, have a contest to see who can find the most “s-words”. Say each s-word as you find it (e.g. “syrup starts with S!”)

Target skill: articulation

8. Practice greeting others.

When you get to the check-out line, encourage your child to greet the cashier. If your child is older, let them help with the transaction. (e.g. “How much did the groceries cost? What should we give the cashier?”). Encourage your child to say goodbye as you leave.

Target skills: social communication, problem solving

9. Let your child “be the teacher”.

Encourage your child to give you directions, and tell you where to put items. Make silly errors, and encourage your child to use their language to correct you. For example, you might put an apple on your head and ask “is this where it goes?… No! Where does the apple go?”

Target skills: expressive language, location concepts

10. Finally, have fun together!

Enjoy spending time with your child. Describe what is happening and what you see. Ask your child questions, and encourage them to talk about what they see.

Target skills: listening, expressive language, social communication

Deanna Swallow

Deanna Swallow, M.A., CCC-SLP is a speech-language pathologist who earned her master’s degree from Northwestern University. Prior to living in Chicago, Deanna attended the University of California at Davis, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Human Development. During her time at Davis, Deanna served as a research assistant for an Infant-Development Study in the Department of Human Development. Deanna has experience working as a pediatric speech-language pathologist in private practice, Early Intervention, and in preschool and elementary school settings. She is strongly committed to helping children build confidence and achieve their maximum potential.

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2 replies
  1. David Michael
    David Michael says:

    I usually don’t like taking my kids to the grocery store because they want everything on the shelves and can be very distracting. This creative list of activities makes the mundane task of grocery shopping both educational and fun.

    Reply

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  1. [...] Speech and Language Skills at the … – North Shore Pediatric Therapy The grocery store has endless opportunities to practice speech and language skills? Here are a few fun tips to keep your child learning while still finding time for errands. Source: nspt4kids.com [...]

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