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Well, it’s the holidays–time off from school and a break from the usual routine. This usually means no speech-language therapy sessions for your child until early or mid January. Yikes! That’s quite a while between sessions. What if he or she starts to “slide” a little in their skills? Well, never fear! There are many fun-filled activities you and your child can do that will keep their speech-language skills cooking. I’ll divide them into “speech” and “language” categories, but an activity in one category may be also be perfectly suitable for the other. Here we go!
You know the drill. Your child’s speech-language pathologist gives you homework targeting whatever speech sound(s) they are targeting in therapy. Well, you can continue working on the sound during the holiday and have a great time. Here are just a few ideas:
- Go Fish (use pictures containing the target sound)
- Memory Game: Name the matches that you get
- Fishing Game: Make a fishing pole with a craft stick, string and magnet. Attach paper clips to pictures, “fish” for them and have your child name them
- Jenga: Every time you child pulls out a Jenga piece, he/she must say a target word
- Bowling: Tape pictures to the bowling pins and say them as they are knocked down
- Treasure Hunt: Hide pictures or objects containing the sound and then search for them
- Tape a word to your back and have your child guess what it is (also great for word finding)
- Make a holiday collage with pictures containing the sound
- Calendar: Write a new word on the calendar every day and try to use that word as much as possible all day long
- Take a walk: Go for a walk with your child and look for objects that start with the sound. Whoever finds the most wins!
- Practice good speech during specific times of day. Mealtimes work especially well!
- Tongue Twisters
And these are just a few! But wait–now it’s time to move on to:
There are many terrific games for auditory processing, sequencing, expressive language, vocabulary, word finding and social skills that can be played by the whole family. While you’re sitting in front of a roaring fire drinking hot cocoa, you can have a great time playing any one of these:
- Rory’s Story Cubes: Sequencing, verbal organization, narrative development
- Rory’s Story Cubes Actions: Vocabulary, word finding
- Zing: Written organization, syntax, punctuation
- Outburst Junior: Vocabulary, word finding
- Scattegories: Verbal organization, word finding
- Apples to Apples: Vocabulary, abstract thinking
- A Bit of Banter Jr.: Conversation skills
- Headbanz: Critical thinking, deductive reasoning
- Whoonu: social language, forming opinions, making decisions
- Taboo: Vocabulary, expressive language
- Password: Vocabulary, metalinguistic skills
- Telephone game: Listening, attention
- Twister: Listening
- Hangman: Word finding, spelling
- 20 Questions: Attention, listening, making associations, word retrieval
You can also read and tell stories. This is a fabulous way to spend time together and strengthen language skills at the same time. When reading, you can let your kids:
- predict the character’s actions
- describe the pictures using nouns, verbs and adjectives
- retell the story (great for recall and verbal sequencing)
And don’t forget apps. There are so many for speech and language that I can’t list them all here (that will be another blog post). In the meantime, you can just go to itunes or the Google Play store and do a search for “speech language therapy”. You won’t believe how many you’ll find.
Of course, the ultimate goal is not just to make your child a better speaker or listener, but to ENJOY the time spent with him or her. I hope some of these ideas will make the rest of your holiday (and your year) brighter. And please, if you have any activities and ideas you would like to add, please post them. I’d love to hear from you!
Monica and Bodylink Speech Therapy