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Speech and Language Activities

Communication is a vital part of learning and growing. We can take advantage of many everyday opportunities to provide enriching activities and experiences for children. Speech and language learning occurs in daily routines, during meal times, when playing outside, during craft activities, reading, etc. The possibilities are limitless for speech and language learning. Please use some of these activities to provide language enriching experiences in the natural, home environment.

Before beginning, there are a few things to consider:

  1. Know the goals your child is working on in therapy.
    If you have an understanding of what your child is learning in therapy, you can incorporate his/her speech and language goals into the activity.
  2. Try to do these activities one on one with your child.
    Make this a special time with your child. Sometimes siblings can be distracting and take away from the language learning experience.
  3. If your child’s therapy focus is pragmatic language, set up a play date for him or her.
    Have your child do these activities with a friend. Peer interaction is essential to
    improve pragmatic language skills. When doing these activities you can focus
    on sharing, requesting, eye contact, conversation, etc.
  4. Make sure you allow enough time to complete the activities.
    If you have to rush through the activities, you are likely not providing a stimulating interactive speech and language environment.
  5. Have fun!
    These activities should be fun and not seem like “work.” The child should not become frustrated or upset during these projects. If this does happen, reduce the number of demands you are placing on the child and focus on the fun!


*Adapted from Oh Say What They See, Portland Center for Hearing and Speech

  • Parallel Talk: use a short phrase or sentence to describe what your child is doing. This technique highlights the action (i.e. your child raises a cup to her lips. You say: you are drinking or (Childs name) is drinking.
  • Description-use a word, short phrase, or sentence to describe what your child see or is playing with. This technique is object-centered )i.e. The child picks up the truck. Adult says: truck or It's a truck or blue truck.
  • Self Talk-use short phrases or sentences to convey your actions to the child (i.e. you say: I am washing dishes.)
  • Expansion-expand your child's short or simple utterance into a more adult-like form. (i.e. your child says: horse. You say: Yes, that is a horse. Or The horse has a tail.)
  • Expansion Plus-expand your childs short or simple utterance into a more adult-like form and then add a sentence to provide additional information. This technique is use once the child is speaking in 2-3 word utterances. (i.e. your child says I have horse. You say: Yes, you have the horse. The horse has a tail.)

Some children struggle with abstract, non-literal language such as idioms. Below is a list of some common idioms that you can talk about and have fun with at home. As with other types of vocabulary development, consider having an "idiom of the week" at home.

School Idioms:

Food Idioms:

Head and Face Idioms

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