Is it a chilly January where you are? Is there snow on the ground and have the leaves fallen off the trees? If the answer to these questions is yes, then it’s officially the time to move play inside and find fun ways to keep the kids busy and entertained in the living room. While you do that, you can encourage your child's speech and language development with these indoor activities.
Who Doesn't Love an Obstacle Course
Use the couch cushions to make a tunnel, and blankets and pillows can be a path from one room to another. Hide items inside the tunnels, put a treat into a plastic Tupperware container and get the kids moving!
How to Target Speech or Language Goals?
Give verbal directions that are as complex as your child understands: Hop on the blanket like a bunny, slither like a snake through the tunnel.
Give clues for hidden items to target sounds: I'm thinking of something that we drive and makes a vroom sound (/k/ sound for "car"); Where is the animal that makes a "woof woof" sound (/d/ sound for "dog")
Find the hidden treats and ask for help: did you put a cookie in a closed and see through container, have your toddler who is working on single words find it and ask for help such as: "open" or "help." Kids working on 2 words can say: "open please" or "mommy help."
Play Simon (or Daddy) Says
This is a classic that has been around forever since we all like to give directions! Here is how you can target different language goals:
Give 1 or 2 step directions: touch your nose; or touch your nose then jump up and down. You can make these as complex as you like. For example: touch your nose after you jump two times up and down. The addition of the words "after" and "two times" makes it harder for kids working on more complex comprehension skills.
Target vocabulary: have your child touch their nose, cheeks, knees. You can also target other object vocabulary you have around them like having them touch or grab a ball or shoe. This can be made complex as well by giving clues: touch the thing we put on our feet before we go outside, or touch the green jacket not the red one.
Make Something to Eat
Is it snack time? Making a meal or a snack is a great opportunity to listen to and use language. You can also practice sharing the finished meal with loved ones. Here is one snack easy enough for the little ones to make with minimal help. You can target:
Describing: What do the ingredients feel/look/smell/taste like? Fuzzy kiwis, round apples, smelly broccoli and sour lemons. There are so many ways to talk about the food we eat. This is a great way to expand vocabulary.
Taking Turns: Is your child practicing taking turns? You can say "my turn" and "your turn" while pointing to you or your child. And take turns adding ingredients to the bowl or taking bites from the snack you made.
Asking for More: Is your toddler working on saying "more?" You can put the snack just out of reach and have your child sign/grunt/point/ask for "more" depending on their level of language skills.
You can tweak these activities to target any speech or language goal. Just ask your speech therapist to modify the suggestions we have here. Our Better Speech SLPs are alway giving clients homework to work on their goals and showing them how to practice with these types of activities.
Do you need some ideas or have some of your own? What do you do to keep your kids entertained during the chilly winter months indoors?
At Better Speech we know you deserve speech therapy that works.
We have experts in your needs and assign the right therapist; not just the therapist that happens to be in your area. If you want to find out more about our services, contact us to schedule a free consultation.