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Holiday Speech and Language Activities

Here are some examples of how a holiday tradition can be turned into a speech and language activity: blog-holiday-speech-main-landscape

Looking at Holiday Lights

  • For a younger child: Play a silly sentence game. Make a sentence about the light display but put in a nonsense word. See if your child can fix the silly mistake. For example, “The snowman is under the grass.” or “There is an elephant on the roof.” Then see if your child can make a silly sentence for you to correct.
  • For an older child: Create complex sentences. Challenge your child to use the conjunctions and or but to talk about the lights. For example, “The window has a wreath and the garage has a bow.” or “This house has only white lights, but that house has all different colored lights.”
  • For a child working on speech sounds: See if the child can find decorations containing their sounds. For example, if a child is working on /l/, they can practice saying blue lights, yellow lights, snow globe, soldier, and igloo.

Singing Holiday Songs

  • For a younger child: Work on rhyming by starting a well-known carol then substituting a non-rhyming word in place of a rhyming word. For example, “Dashing through the snow, in a one horse open sleigh. O’er the fields we go, laughing all the go.”
  • For an older child: Make inferences about song lyrics by asking your child why For example, “Why do you think Santa asked Rudolph to guide his sleigh?”
  • For a child working on speech sounds: Listen to a familiar song and have your child write down every word with their sound. Then go back and practice saying the words they wrote. For example, a child working on final /l/ can listen to “Chanukah, Oh Chanukah” and practice saying the words we’ll, all, while, and table.

Decorating the Christmas Tree

  • For a younger child: Teach directional concepts. Ask your child, “Should I put this ornament above the tinsel or below the tinsel?” or “Should I put the star on the top or on the bottom?” while showing them what each directional word means.
  • For the older child: Practice describing ornaments by word features. Have the child say the shape, size, color, material it’s made of, and parts. You can play a guessing game where the child describes clues about the ornament and you guess which one they are describing.
  • For a child working on speech sounds: Pick a word that has a child’s sound in it and have your child repeat the word while decorating the tree. For example, a child working on “ng” can say “hang” every time someone hangs an ornament. A child working on /r/ can say “wrap” a number of times while wrapping lights around the tree.

Making Holiday Crafts

  • For the younger child: Practice requesting. Provide your child with all necessary materials but leave one item out. Encourage them to make sure they have all the items they need and have them ask questions if they do not have everything.
  • For the older child: Work on narrative skills. Have the child pretend they are leading a how-to TV show. Have them use the words first, next, then, and last to give at least four steps. Build the craft yourself and see if the directions are clear enough to be followed and encourage your child to clarify communication breakdowns if needed.
  • For a child working on speech sounds: Create a phrase that the child must use for each part of the craft. For example, a child working on ch can say,” I chose the ____.” A child working on /g/ can say, “I got a ____.”

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how to make carving a pumpkin a speech and language activity

Carving a Pumpkin – Make it a Speech and Language Activity!

One of my favorite Halloween memories from childhood is carving pumpkins with my dad. I loved the excitement of picking them out, pulling out all the yucky guts, deciding on faces, lighting them up and then, of course, making pumpkin seeds. With Halloween right around corner, it’s a great time to carve some pumpkins and make memories with your kids. Below are 3 ways you can work speech and language goals into this fun holiday activity!

3 Ways to Make Carving a Pumpkin a Speech and Language Activity:

1. Going to the pumpkin patch: There is so much to see at the pumpkin patch! This is a great opportunity to talkhow to make carving a pumpkin a speech and language activity about size concepts as well as to compare and contrast.

  • Have your child find the biggest or smallest pumpkin.
  • After picking out your pumpkins, have your child put them in order from biggest to smallest (or vice versa).
  • Compare the sizes and shapes of the pumpkins.
  • Use similes to describe the pumpkins. “It’s a big as a____.”

2. Carving the pumpkin. But first, talk about how you’re going to do it.

  • Make “How to Carve a Pumpkin” directions and problem solve with your child about what’s going to happen first, next, and last. They can draw or write out the steps.
  • If your child is younger, use one of these sequencing activities to help with the sequencing!

Sequence 1
Sequence 2
Sequence 3

3. Making pumpkin seeds. Cooking and recipes are great ways to work on language comprehension, vocabulary, and sequencing skills.

  • Click here for a great recipe – it gives you different seasoning options.
  • After reading through the recipe ask comprehension questions such as “What are two ingredients we need?” or “How hot should the oven be?”
  • Have your child recall all the steps of the recipe. It might be helpful to draw, or write them out.
  • Talk about the different seasoning options and how they might taste; use descriptive vocabulary words to describe the flavors! Spicy, fiery, zesty, sweet, fragrant, etc.

Happy Halloween!

Click here for 5 more speech and language themed Halloween activities!

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Tongue Twisters

Thanksgiving is nearly here! With the hectic holiday schedule, here are some festive tongue twisters to try with your kids!

Thanksgiving Tongue Twisters:

•    Tom Turkey is terribly timid for tomorrow’s get-together!
•    Fall is for football, feasting, family and friends.
•    Hairy Harry hurried home to heap helpings of honey ham on his plate.
•    Chef Shannon said she shouldn’t share the shake.
•    It thrills Thin Theo to think about the Thanksgiving gathering on Thursday!
•    Gobbling Gill grabbed the gravy from Greedy Gus!
•    Peter Pilgrim passed the platter of pumpkin pie.

Can you say them 5x fast?

Check out our Speech and Language Milestone Infographic!

What to do When Your Kid is Too Loud!

All parents have experienced the desire for their child to speak in an ‘indoor voice’ when an ‘outdoor voice’ seems to be all their child wants to use.  Modulating voice is an important skill for kids to learn.  Read on for possible reasons your child may use a voice that is too loud and for ways to help her find a softer pitch.

Strategies to quiet a too loud kid:

Is your child too loud during times of great excitement or frustration? In groups?  In new places?My Kid is Too Loud

If your child’s loudness tends to be predictable and related to a particular time, place or activity, it is possible that her loudness is serving a purpose. You should help her replace volume with a more appropriate way to get attention, expel excited energy, or express frustration.

Is your child able to tell the difference between a loud and soft voice?

  • Some children just don’t know what ‘too loud’ or ‘make a soft voice’ means. These are terms that need to be explicitly taught. Teaching this is really fun. Come up with a list of voice ‘types’ to teach and practice (think silly: monster voice, squeaky voice, baby voice.)
  • Be sure to include the type of target voice you want your child to have-soft, and the voice she’s currently using-loud. Name these voices whatever you like and create a visual to go with it.
  • Practice making each of these voices together and then have your child judge your voices. Once she has them all down, talk about where you hear each voice or where she should use each voice. Then, have your child practice.  Ask her to use a voice for the library, for the playground, or for whatever situation you will be in. Read more

10 Ways to Promote Language Skills During Winter Break

School is out for a few weeks, but that doesn’t mean your child has to stop working on language concepts. Using these 10 tips, you can winter girlwork with your child to promote his or her language skills in a fun and meaningful way!

10 Ways to Promote Language Skills During Winter Break:

    1. Narrate Everything: Explaining what you’re doing can help expose your child to the correct production of language concepts and verb tenses. Narration can also help to increase your child’s vocabulary size. Some examples include: “I am putting the eggs in the bowl” or “I cracked the eggs”, etc.
    2. Make Lists: Creating a list of items can help increase vocabulary. If you create lists with your child of grocery items, gifts needed, or even locations, it can help to promote language development and thought organization.
    3. Build Vocabulary: Targeting and explaining new winter words can help to improve your child’s vocabulary. Saying things like, “look at the snowman,” “the icicle is hanging from the tree,” or “look at those children sledding,” will reinforce the new words and encourage usage.
    4. Read Aloud: Reading aloud to your child is extremely beneficial for language development. When reading stories, emphasizing and reinforcing new words will enhance vocabulary skills, and asking questions while reading encourages understanding (e.g., what did the Polar Bear see?). If age appropriate, ask your child to retell the story (or part of the story). This will allow him or her to use new vocabulary words in context.
    5. Emphasize Pronouns: Many children struggle with correct usage of pronouns, so emphasizing pronouns at family functions can help reinforce correct production. Some examples include: “look what he is doing,” “she made the cake,” or “I hope we get to watch the movie!”
    6. Take Turns: Playing holiday games can promote your child’s ability to follow directions and learn about turn-taking. Games are a great way to target these language skills, and you can reinforce turn-taking and direction following by saying things like, “my turn” or “your turn.” Children may also benefit from posing the question, “whose turn is it?” and then allowing time for them to answer with “mine” or “yours.”
    7. Promote Social Skills: Pragmatic language, or the social use of language, can be targeted during winter break as well. Preparing your child to use appropriate greetings when family arrives, demonstrating appropriate volume during family gatherings, and discussing the social rules of gift exchange can be very beneficial to children who may be struggling with how to act in social situations.
    8. Ask “Wh”-questions: Asking your child questions throughout the day is a great way to encourage language skills, including naming and understanding functions. Questions like, “what do we use to make a snowman?” or “where do your gloves/hat/scarf go?” or “who baked the cookies?” can all help to enhance language skills.
    9. Use Sequencing: Discussing the appropriate sequence of actions for winter activities can not only target language concepts (e.g., first, next, last), it can also target your child’s awareness and planning. Asking your child to sequence how to get ready to build a snowman or wrap a present will allow him or her to list the steps required using many different language concepts.
    10. Find Similarities/Differences: Examining the similarities and differences of winter concepts as they relate to summer or other seasons can solidify a child’s understanding of seasons, as well as develop winter vocabulary. Asking questions like, “how is snow different from rain?” will target various cognitive/language skills and promote language development.




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Helping Your Toddler Learn to Communicate

The first few years of your child’s life are a critical time in their language development. Research strongly supports that face-to-face time with caregivers and loved ones is one of the most powerful tool in language development. So how can parents help their toddlers learn to communicate? Here are 10 activities to encourage speech and language skills in toddlers.

10 Activities to Build Speech & Language Skills in Toddlers

1. Floor time. Come down to your child’s level play face-to-face. By playing at eye-level, your child will model your facial expressions, eye contact, and oral postures as you make various speech sounds.mom playing with toddler

2. Describe. Children learn language by being hearing it. Surround your child with a language-rich environment by describing what you are seeing or doing. Label nearby objects, or talking about what is happening around you. Use clear and simple language (e.g. “Mommy is washing your hands!” or “I see a red ball!”).

3. Take turns. Language is a back-and-forth system which requires the ability to take turns. Help your child learn about turn-taking through activities that promote reciprocal interactions. You might pass a ball back-and-forth, share a toy, or play a turn-taking game. For more ideas, visit Turn Taking and Language Development.

4. Ask questions. The ability to answer questions is an important skill in language development. Practice this skill by asking your child questions throughout the day. You might start with yes/no questions, and then ask “what”, “who” or “where” questions. Try to avoid “question overload” which may feel like a “quiz” or overwhelming to your child. Instead, take advantage of natural opportunities to ask questions throughout the day. For example, when reading a book, you might say “Bear is hiding! Who is hiding?”.

5. Use gestures. The use of gestures to communicate is a critical step in language development. Language is a symbol system, filled with both verbal and nonverbal symbols that represent our thoughts and ideas. Help your child use gestures by modeling pointing to request objects, waving “bye bye”, blowing kisses, or clapping. You can also practice gestures through finger play and singing (e.g. pat-a-cake, Itsy Bitsy Spider, Wheels on the Bus).

6. Make requests. Encourage your child to intentionally communicate by asking for desired objects. Instead of predicting your child’s needs, guide them to ask for things, whether by pointing, making a word approximation, reaching, or vocalizing. You can also try presenting two choices to your child (e.g. “Do you want bear, or ball?”) to help them verbalize which one they want.

7. Say no. In addition to telling you want they want, it’s also important for your child to tell you what they don’t want. Help your child say “no” by modeling for them. For example, if you can tell your child doesn’t want to play with a ball, model the words “No. No ball” while shaking your head back and forth, and remove the ball.

8. Read. Enjoy one-on-one time with your child while reading books. Books are an excellent way to build language skills in children, including: listening comprehension, sentence formulation, vocabulary development, inferencing, problem solving, narrative language skills, and social emotional development. For more ideas, visit Encouraging Language Development When Reading to Your Toddler.

9. Sing. Songs are extremely beneficial to language development. Through songs, children learn language patterns, distinguish speech sounds, learn gestures, and engage in interactions with others.

10. Play. For developing children, play is the means by which children learn. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics “Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength. Play is important to healthy brain development.” Playing with your child provides countless opportunities to hear and use language while spending one-on-one time with loved ones.

It’s important to remember that every child develops at their own pace, with some skills progressing faster or slower than others. Some child may need additional support to help foster their speech and language development. Research has well-documented that intervening early on is most effective in remediating speech and language difficulties. If you have concerns regarding your child’s speech and language, it’s important to schedule a speech-language evaluation with a licensed speech-language pathologist right away. For more information or to schedule an evaluation, contact our Solutions Center to speak with a Family Child Advocate.

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Speech In Infants | Pediatric Therapy Tv

In Today’s Webisode Below Pediatric Speech and Language Pathologist provides our viewers with quick tips on how to encourage speech in infants.

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