We have been putting different activities on Twitter (@ChatterboxesSLT) for different resources. Here they all are in one place! Give them a go and remember, these activities can be done at any time, with any age and any ability.
- try to find a range of sizes of teddies/dollies/action figures. Label them as ‘big’ and ‘not big’ (introducing big and small at the same time is confusing!). Ask your child to sort them into big/not big groups or to point to a big teddy.
- you can use teddies to teach prepositions such as on, in, under, behind or in front. Play a game of hide and seek. Where’s teddy hiding now? Behind the tv or under the table. You can model the words or encourage your child to use them.
- introduce a range of doing words to your child by asking teddy to do things. Show them first, then encourage them to help teddy. You could use run, walk, eat, drink, sit, dance, fly or sleep- don’t worry about them saying the word yet.
- once your child has an understanding of verbs, encourage them to use them. Make teddy do lots of different actions and ask them to guess what he’s doing now. Once they can use single words, encourage them to build up to sentences.
- when looking at picture books, ask your child ‘Who is in the picture? What are they doing? Where are they?’ Don’t worry too much about reading the words- lots of conversation can be had just about the pictures!
- when reading books ask your child to think of possible things that could happen next. If they’ve read the book a few times, maybe ask them for an alternative scenario to what actually happens.
- try to find a book that has lots of repetition. Read this with your child and encourage them to clap when they hear you say a certain word! If you’re reading The Gruffalo you could clap when you hear ‘gruffalo’, or even roar!!
- you don’t just have to read books to your child, simply forget the words and focus on labelling what’s in the picture. This supports your child’s vocabulary development and can also be really engaging.
- point out different emotions to your child while watching tv e.g. ‘that person is crying, they must be feeling sad!’ Or ‘they’re shouting, they must be feeling really angry!’. Encourage your child to look for emotions too!
- when you’ve watched a programme together, try and describe characters to each other and guess who they are. Talk about the characters personality, appearance, likes and dislikes and hobbies.
- after watching a TV programme with your child, play a game where you pretend to be the characters! You can act out what happened in the programme or even come up with your own ideas!
- after watching a TV programme, ask your child to tell you what happened. Are they able to tell you the main details? Does the plot make sense? This helps their narrative and sequencing skills.
- think of something your child can make from play-doh and give them instructions how to make it e.g. first make a big ball, then add a smaller ball on top. Take it in turns and get them to give you instructions too!
- play describing games. Ask your child to describe what they’ve made using a range of vocabulary such as long, curly snake or a wide, red bus. You can make it harder by hiding your creation and trying to describe it for someone to guess.
- both you and your child make the same thing out of play-doh e.g. a butterfly. Then compare both models and think of something the same and not the same- they might be the same size but not have the same patterns.
- try and make as many different items from a category using play-doh. How many different foods, clothes or animals can you make? You could make it a competition to see who can make the most items. This builds children’s vocabulary.
- when playing with your child, it is important to follow their lead. Rather than trying to begin an activity, encourage your child to use their imagination and watch what they do with the blocks. Then copy or join in with what their doing.
- you can use blocks to teach children concepts. For example, model the word ‘more’ and then give the child a block. Over time, the child should learn to request using more. You could also teach concepts such as most, least and colours.
- to extend your child’s language, you could use blocks to represent words. Show your child pictures and as you say sentences, point to a new block for each word. This is a great visual to ensure your child doesn’t miss out any little words.
- one person is the builder and the other gives instructions. You can choose what to build or use a picture. The person needs to give clear instructions and the builder needs to understand them to make the build successful.
Board Games :
- any board game is great for practising turn taking! At first your child might need reminders to wait for their turn. You could use a visual like holding a teddy to remind everyone whose turn it is.
- play games as a family and over time everyone will experience the feelings of winning and losing. It’s important for children to experience this to help them deal with and control the emotions they experience when this happens.
- these can be great motivators for children to work on targets. If a child needs to practise using conjunctions, introduce a rule that before anyone takes a turn, they must say a sentence using a conjunction. Adapt this for any target!
- Children’s Picture Lotto is a great game to play to support early vocabulary development. Can they name all of the items such as tractors, geese and squirrels? They won’t even realise they are learning.
- work on turn taking. Let your child play with the ball, then say ‘my turn’ and take it to play with it yourself. Do this for a very short time then give it back saying ‘your turn!’. Extend the time you play with it slightly each time.
- teach ‘Ready Steady Go’. Begin by saying the phrase and releasing the ball either down the stairs or roll it down a hill. Keep repeating and modelling and have a gap between the words to give your child the opportunity to use the words.
- use balls to teach verbs. First see if your child can follow instructions using a range of verbs and then ask them to tell you what to do. Can you bounce, throw, catch, squeeze, dribble, head, kick and pass the ball?
We love these ways to extend a child’s language. Rather than asking a child to label things, remove the pressure to speak by simply commenting on what they’re doing and modelling vocabulary. They might reply with more than you expect!
Check out Our Resources page for more ideas on how to support your child’s speech and language development.