This is a troublesome time for the world right now, with a lot of uncertainty surrounding what will happen next. Schools have shut down and parents have taken on the unique role to support student learning in a way like never before.
Have no fear! There are so many activities you can do with your child that are simple and benefit their learning. As a Teacher of the Deaf, my job is to help you continue to build on those listening, language and speech skills.
Here are a few activities that you can do right at home!
1. Listening for elements
You can do with any toys!
My personal favorite is to use farm animals, but you can use play food, colored blocks, coloring sheets, you name it.
Give your child a direction: “Put the pig, cow, and monkey in the laundry basket.”
The key is to change ONLY the items, not the location. Use the same language, but switch out the different items.
You can do one item (“Put the banana on the plate.”), two items (“Put the banana and apple on the plate) , or three items (“Put the banana, hot dog and apple on the plate!”) Tada! You are working on listening skills, and it couldn’t be easier!
Chances are you are very aware of what sounds your child is working on.
You can always refer to their IEP or even reach out to their teacher or SLP – We are always willing to help.
My favorite thing you can do at home to work on speech sounds is to play a board game or card game. This allows for naturalistic language, which also lets you see what sounds they may be struggling with.
Once you catch an error, simply encourage them to try again. Give them a model and have them say it again.
For example: your child may say “go pish!” instead of “go fish!”.
Simply prompt them by saying “Look at my lips! Fish. Can you try that? Go fish!”.
It might be scary to you that you child is not receiving their required speech minutes, but something as simple as dedicating time to correct their speech sounds is a great way to work on speech. It is easy to do when you are playing a game!
There are SO MANY ways to work on language!
You are already talking to your child so much during the day. Anything you do can become a language activity.
One easy way to do this is when you are baking and cooking.
Encourage your child to do it with you, and talk through what your adding, how much you’re adding, what you need to do first, etc.
Prompt them with questions “Okay, I added cheese sauce to the mac and cheese. What should I do next?” Hint: they should say “stir!”. You can expand on that. “Stir? Stir what?” “Stir the mac and cheese!”.
Talk about how things are hot or cold, sweet or salty, healthy or unhealthy … the possibilities are endless!
These are just some ideas that you can be doing at home during this uncertain time.
Just know this parents: You are doing a wonderful job, no matter what you are doing! Keep talking to your kids, reading books, and providing meaningful language opportunities.