Many years ago, I noticed that Individual Education Plan (IEP) meetings occur frequently during this time of year. Is it just me? During many of these meetings, I have had my parents ask time and again different ways that they could help their child build and generalize their speech and language skills. Parents want to help and are just not sure how to go about it without building frustration in their children by providing them with “extra” homework. I like to provide my families with different examples of free or low-cost activities that they can engage in as a family while still targeting speech and language skills in a fun way. Here are a few examples for the Spring season.
MAKE SPRING SCENTED PLAYDOUGH- You can find 10 reasons why we should encourage students to use playdough here. Parents can find a lot of wonderful no-cook playdough recipes online. Check out this video on how to make No Cook Playdough. Here are two Spring themed recipes: Lavender Playdough and Pink Lemonade Playdough.
- describing materials using senses
- sequencing steps and recall
- use the playdough to create items to describe or as visuals when telling a story
- set a timer so that students are practicing self-monitoring and self-correction for specific articulation sounds or actively use fluency shaping and stuttering modification techniques while communicating while making and playing with the playdough
GO FOR A HIKE IN NATURE- Many towns and cities have areas with hiking trails. Going on a hike as a family can provide inexpensive fun and a wonderful way to engage kids in communication. Bring this FREE Scavenger List.
- receptive identification
- expressive labeling
- discuss weather and clothing options, cloud formations
- adjectives to describe items found/seen during the hike
- target prepositions with where the child found the item
- compare/contrast items
- give instructions on how to return to the starting point
- sequence the order for what they checked off of their scavenger list
- make requests for supplies (“Please hand me the blue pipe cleaner” or “I would like the yellow stamp ink/paint”)
- sequence steps that were taken to create their crafts
- describe their butterfly/garden
- tell a story about their art project
MAKE SPRING HERB & FLOWER PLANTERS– I wish I could say that I have a green thumb. Unfortunately, I do not. That being said, I feel that it is a wonderful spring activity to teach our children about plants and creating planters. I found this amazing video on 8 different things you can upcycle into planters!
- discuss which types of plants would be beneficial for the family
- create a materials list and sequence the steps to create the planter
- compare/contrast the different types of planters
- give instructions on how they made the planter
- describe their planter
GO TO A FARMER’S MARKET & COMMUNITY LOCATIONS– Many farmer’s markets open in April. Some farmer’s markets cost a minimal fee for families to go into; however, the majority that I have gone to have been free since you are most likely going to purchase the wares you find there.
- comparing/contrasting fruits and vegetables
- using language to order their own treats
- explain why they chose one type of fruit, vegetable, or treat over another
- using adjectives to describe the different fruits, vegetables, and wares
Other locations in the community that families may want to explore if they have one in their area would be botanical gardens and botanical gardens. However, these locations usually cost and are not available for free.
I hope you share these ideas with your families looking for opportunities to help their children build speech and language skills. Don’t forget that families can also work on using carryover of speech sound system skills (articulation and phonology) and using fluency techniques while engaging in these fun activities.