Image by Professional Photographer, Mike Birdy
Are you having a hard time making speech homework fun and functional for your children? Here are some examples of different activities to help you make practice in the home setting appear more like play and less like work.
Games are a great way to practice articulation, language, and social skills at home without your child knowing they are even working. Games give great opportunities for children to practice taking turns, use a variety of words and phrases, and practice specific sounds within words, phrases, and sentences. The options are endless, but games give you a fun way to work on skills without adding pressure while at home. Some example of games that I love to use are:
- Sorry: Have the kiddo read the cards to work on articulation
- Pop the Pig: Come up with some fun phrases in order to work on motor speech patterns and expressive language
- Guess Who: This provides opportunities for asking questions, turn-taking, and whole body listening
- Candy Land: Target turn taking and language expansion by having them talk about the characters and pictures on the board
There are many ways that you can work on speech goals during play.
- Pick your child’s favorite toys and begin interacting (e.g., pushing a car, serving pretend food, making a toy animal hop, etc.) following your child’s lead.
- During play, you can model language for children in order to expand language. This can be done by using functional phrases during play. Functional phrases are phrases you may use during a variety of daily activities. Examples of functional phrases include “I want ____,” “I need ____,” or “I see ____.”
- Play is a great way to work on following directions, asking your child to “put the horse in the bed” or “give me the bear” are very functional, but also target attention and the ability to follow commands.
Play doesn’t just stop with toys either. You can play with others things as well, such as:
- Sports (kicking a soccer ball or shooting hoops with a basketball)
- Cooking (pretending a pepper is a car or asking your child to help you with your favorite recipe)
Arts and Crafts
If your kids like making crafts, painting, or coloring, this is another great way that you can work on speech and language goals functionally.
- You can ask your child to explain what they are making.
- You can have them request to use the items needed for these activities.
- You can start up a conversation about the picture or what is needed for the art activity working on back and forth conversation and targeting commenting/follow up questions.
- Arts and crafts are also a great way to work on following directions, having them paint or create something after you ask them.
Whatever you choose, make sure it is something that is motivating for your child. Use their interests to get them to buy into the activity. The more motivated your child is by the activitiy, the more fun you will all have!