There is no doubting the good that speech and language therapy brings to its recipients, but if the recipients are children, then it can be a little difficult to keep them engaged at times. If a child is not fully engaged with the therapy, then they are unable to take advantage of the benefits that speech and language therapy has to offer.
Of course, making speech and language therapy fun is not limited to those children who may not be engaging as much as one would like. It also makes an ideal supplement to what your child is already learning elsewhere. Below are a few activities that will engage children and stimulate their language and speech production.
Some children may suffer with their speech because they are unsure as to how they should shape their mouths when pronouncing certain words.
Adults are able to work with children by sounding out the words slowly, putting emphasis on how the mouth moves when the words are pronounced. Children can then mimic the actions of an adult using the mirror as a training wheel to help them perfect the positioning of their mouth. Undoubtedly, this exercise can ensure a few smiles are raised during the SLT.
Yes, that’s right, the popular board game that may stir up fond memories amongst many adults is an ideal teaching aid when it comes to SLT.
Those who have played ‘Guess Who!’ will be fully aware of how it not only teaches problem-solving, but also encourages children to partake in socialising and character identification. What’s more, adults can play the game with children for hours without it ever becoming tedious or a chore.
Frog Hop is a game that represents words as lily pads, and your child acts like a frog. Adults pick six words that they want a child to concentrate on, and then slide these words inside polyethylene pockets. These pockets are then scattered across the floor, where the adult then instructs the child to jump onto a word. As they land on the word, they must also pronounce it. Rewards can be offered for any words pronounced correctly, giving children an incentive to put in the maximum effort.
Tablets can be seen as the biggest hindrance when it comes to a child’s development. Many assume that tablets are taking over our children’s lives, with children not showing an interest in much else. However, a tablet can be used to an adult’s advantage if approached in the correct way.
Just because your child has access to a tablet doesn’t mean that they are limited to playing the same games as everyone else. There are a range of fantastic apps available that will allow your child to develop their speech without it seeming like such a chore. There are always a plethora of reviews online, so you can always check as to which app is the most relevant for your child.
We’re all familiar with the classic game ‘Simon Says,’ which instructs players to act out a string of commands, but only if Simon says. ‘Captain Commands’ gives ‘Simon Says’ a pirate theme that will be a hit with many children.
In this version of the game, the “Captain” says “Attention!” before giving the player instructions. If the Captain does not say “Attention!” before saying an instruction, the players simply dismiss the Captain’s request. Adults can make the game competitive by including a group of children and moving them to another line if they act out an instruction where “Attention” wasn’t said. This game can encourage children to actively listen at all times, which in turn will teach them to understand instructions and when to act on it.
Sticky notes are infamously placed on desks worldwide with those all-important messages, but did you know they make an ideal tool to help children with their speech therapy? All that is needed for this activity is a piece of paper, some sticky notes and a pen.
Adults simply stick the sticky notes on a piece of paper in the style of a grid. Once all the sticky notes have been placed, the adult then lifts each note and writes a target word within the space before replacing the sticky note.
Children then pick a sticky note and if they are able to pronounce the word beneath the sticky note, they get to keep it. If they fail to pronounce the word correctly, then the sticky note is put back over the word. The winner is the one with the most sticky notes in front of them once they have all been removed.
Children love movies, and in today’s culture many movies will make an impact in the lives of children. Whether its lunch boxes or cuddly toys, many franchises rely on children becoming fans of the movie so a plethora of promotional tie-ins can be released. Adults can use this same approach when thinking of activities that will be both appealing and exciting to children.
Minions, from ‘Despicable Me,’ have become a firm favourite in the world of pop culture with adults and children alike. Why not create a game that sees children compare and contrast among different minions.
The use of Venn Diagrams can be a great way for children to list the similarities they find between different minions, as well as the differences. Children can be encouraged to write down these contrasts and comparisons in sentence form to help with their sentence structuring.
The above activities are only a sample of what can be done with children to help them make the most of the speech-learning therapy. Children are more likely to come on board with activities if there is an element of fun, or the activity is based on something they are familiar with. This will ensure that your child is benefiting the best they can from the speech and learning therapy, without it ever feeling like a hindrance.