The following is a guest post from our newest trainer, Pediatric Speech and Language Pathologist, Carol Lettko.
Here are a few go-to creative ideas to help keep your little ones engaged while reinforcing their language skills during play!
Remember to keep your child’s age in mind and modify the activity as needed. I hope you have fun with these ideas!
You can provide SO much language about the simple and fun act of blowing bubbles! You can talk about: blowing the bubbles; the bubbles are going up up up, and now they are coming down! (did you see how you just taught the concept of opposites by modeling “up” versus “down”?!), you can count the bubbles or sing a little made up song (“One little, two little, three little bubbles, four little bubbles go pop pop pop”!). Here you worked on counting as well as using repetition in the word “pop”.
For toddlers, rhythm and repetition are important to help them understand and start repeating words. You can turn it into a “receptive language” type of activity by having the child follow a direction with the bubbles (“Can you blow the bubble on mama’s shoe?…. versus blowing the bubble on your knee?) Here you worked on clothing identification versus a body part. Can you think of other places to have your child blow the bubble? You can work on turn taking…. Now it’s your sister’s turn to blow the bubbles. Turn-taking is a great skill to start working on to enhance the child’s social/pragmatic skills. Can your child say “my turn” to request the bubbles or “I want more bubbles” depending on what age he or she is? Be creative and the important thing is to have fun!
Does your child need some quiet time to relax? Throw a blanket over a table to create a quiet space to read books or play with their toys. Kids love to build forts! Let them bring a cozy pillow or blanket in their “fort” to create a safe quiet space to relax or listen to quiet music. Some of our children need what is called “sensory breaks” when life gets too over-stimulating. And do you need a break too?! Climb into this quiet space with your child and snuggle up and read a book together.
Movement and being outdoors is a great way to get those wiggles out! One of my favorite go-to activities is to go on a “scavenger hunt”! Let the child put their hidden treasures into a bag (leaves, stones, feathers, shells, bark, grass, etc) As you and your child find different treasures, talk out loud about what your child just found “Ooh you found a big round stone! My stone is tiny and rough”. (You just provided really rich language in which you used “descriptive words” such as big, round, tiny and rough). Keep on narrating what you and your child are doing! Remember, your child will stay more engaged if you follow “their” lead and talk about what they are interested in! Take your treasures back home and glue them onto a piece of paper, or let your child “paint” the stones or shells. They even love painting with water if you don’t have paint.
I hope these suggestions were helpful and that you can incorporate some of them into your routine this week! Happy playing and talking!