It’s Spring! New Flowers are growing, the sun is shining, and the snow is finally out of sight. Longer days…same old chores. So much to do, so little time! You’ve got a heaping pile of dirty laundry to wash, the fridge is empty, and your kids are complaining that they are bored.

The weekly to-dos are piling up and you don’t feel you have the time to target specific, truly educational skills to promote your child’s development. Well I’ve got news for you! Many- if not all- of these weekly chores that you do mindlessly every. single. week. provide great opportunities to practice and promote speech and language skills. Here are a handful of fun tips to incorporate into your weekly errands and chores:

1. Grocery Shopping
  • Give your child a clue about an item on your grocery list, steer him/her in the right direction and see if he/she can figure out which item you described (e.g., “We need something that is yellow, is a fruit, and that you peel).

  • Work on categorizing items by dividing your grocery cart into different “sections” (e.g., meat, fruit, vegetables, hot/cold/room temperature, items in a box). As you find items on your list, see if your child can place the item into the correct section of the grocery cart. You can start with 2 sections and add more sections to make it more difficult.

  • Have your child participate in making the grocery list to target writing, spelling, and object identification/matching when determining if an item is already in the pantry or fridge.

  • If your child is working on production of a specific speech sound, target that speech sound while walking through the store. This will help them hear how the sound is correctly produced. Also, have your child list every item in a certain aisle that has their target sound! For a child working on /ch/, you or your child could list: chocolate, chips, cheese, chicken.

  • When you get to the check-out line, work on greetings and farewells with the cashier. If your child is older, have them help with the transaction.

  • Target receptive and expressive language by having your child give you directions or having your child follow directions. For example, ask your child to “put 3 apples in the bag” or “put the milk next to the cheese.”

2. Laundry
  • Work on clothing item identification by asking your child to hand you specific items (shirt, dress, socks). Add in different adjectives, such as color, size, and feeling (e.g., “Hand me the big red sock”). Discuss what body part each clothing item goes on.

  • Talk about how clothing items feel- are they heavy? Rough? Soft?

  • Name each item as you put it into the washing machine or fold it.

  • Highlight concepts such as clean/dirty, dry/wet, in/out for a hands-on experience of these concepts!

  • Play a game with comparisons: Who has the smallest socks? Who has the longest pants? Who has the most shirts?

  • Talk about what is similar and different between clothing items

  • Practice saying clothing items containing speech sounds your child is working on.

  • Divide clothes into different categories. For example, all clothes that come in pairs, all clothes that are blue, all clothes with sleeves, etc.

I hope these tips and tricks for speech and language development will help make the drudgery of chores a bit more fun for you and your family!

Written By:
Kalin Stenhaug, CCC-SLP
Speech & Language Pathologist