In this article we will discuss:
For kids or adults, the start of a new year is a good time to practice "past, present, and future" concepts to improve speech, language and memory.
When you are practicing speech therapy at home for speech, language or memory development, the new year offers some easy activities to work into your routine. These also work anytime throughout the year, when you approach, pass, or remember specific events or milestones that you can share.
Photos or Facebook vocabulary activity using past and future concepts.
Past > Future, Back > Forward
This is a great time to open up your photo album (or your social media images) from the past year and share them. Look through them together and talk about what happened.
Here are some more question to practice these concepts:
What does eve mean?
Why do we create resolutions?
When does the new year begin?
Why do people like to stay awake until midnight on New Year’s Eve?
What is the opposite of new?
Learn how to use any occasion as a learning opportunity.
Target past tense regular verbs (walked, played, cooked) or irregular verbs (flew, swam, went).
"Remember when we walked down to the lake? We swam in the water and then went to the cabin and cooked dinner?"
Then, make plans for the future by targeting future tense verbs.
"Where will we go next summer? Will we swim again then, like we swam before?"
Highlight where will you go, what will you do next month, time or year. And talk about your plans for the future.
"What does future mean? When is next summer?"
Younger children may respond better to back and forth.
If you have younger kids, you can talk about back and forth by moving a car back and forth, or talk about what the doll did (earlier today or yesterday), which is also a great way to improve memory skills.
"Let's move the car back and forth." or "Let's move the car backwards and forwards. Which way are we going now, backwards or forwards?"
"What did Dolly do yesterday? When did you get Dolly?"
Social Skills Activity: Asking Questions or Making Plans
New Year's is a great time to talk about subjects we don't often get to cover. Depending on what you are working on in your speech, language or memory practicing, talking about goals, or New Year's Resolutions, is a great activity to help encourage conversations and social skills. Later, you can also practice memory.
Practicing asking other people what their New Year’s Resolutions are and then having a short conversation about it.
"Do you have New Year's Resolutions? Would you like to share?"
Next, especially with adults or older children, you can expand on this. Practice conversation techniques.
"Have you started working on that resolution? Have you made a plan to begin? What are the steps you are planning to take to get there?"
This way, you can help practice a conversation about how they will make a concrete plan to make that resolution happen. Help them break down the plan into simple, attainable steps.
After the conversation, you can practice memory skills by asking about those interactions.
"Did you meet John? Did you ask John about his resolution? What is his most important goal? What is his plan to accomplish that goal?"
These speech language and memory development activities are a great way to address social skills, ask questions and make plans for the new year.
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About the Author
I am a Speech-Language Pathologist with 14 years of experience working with children and adults who have communication difficulties. I completed my Bachelor of Science degree in Health Science at Cebu Doctors' University and have been helping people overcome their communication challenges ever since.
I have worked with individuals of different ages, including toddlers, preschoolers, school-aged children, adults and seniors. I'm passionate about speech therapy and take great satisfaction in helping people overcome their communication challenges and improve their lives through better communication skills. In my spare time I like reading books, going hiking in nature and taking care of my dog Locas.