Welcome to the first post in my new weekly series! Ideas, ideas, ideas! Parents are always asking me for them and I'm always trying to think of new ways to stimulate speech and language.
"Try it Tuesday" is being created to help both SLPs (speech language pathologists) and parents. There is NO need to keep buying expensive toys and making trips to big box stores or popular dot com sites. Most of my ideas will feature items you have at home or can purchase for just a few dollars at a dollar store! Each month I'll focus on a different age group. Toddlers are up first! (These ideas can also be used with older children still in the early stages of language development).
Idea #1 Snow Balls and Language!
Targets: Spatial Concepts (In, On, Next To, Under), Question asking and answering (How many? Where is? May/Can I have? ), Pragmatic language (Turn taking, sharing)
Supplies: Bag of cotton balls, one or two ice trays
Activity: It's pretty simple, but can generate many minutes of fun! Have your child ask for a cotton ball ("snowball") from your big bag and discuss where to put it ("May/Can I have?"). Keep the tray flipped up (to target in, next to) or down (to target under). Put two snowballs on top of one another and focus on ON. Count the snowballs and practice many repetitions of "How many?" Hide the big bag of snowballs or the little snowballs and practice "Where?" Switch rolls! Give the big bag of cotton balls to your toddler and this time YOU ask for a snowball and get some help to decide where to put it!
Expansion: Read a book about Winter or snowmen and discuss wintertime activities you can do with snow prior to or after the Snow Balls and Language! activity.
Here is a link to a favorite of my daughter's "No Two Alike" by Keith Baker.
Challenge: Make it harder by involving other objects. Ask, "Can this fit IN the tray?" "Is this a snowball?"
Involve other winter objects you have around the house and discuss categories. "Does this belong in winter?" (scarf, gloves, hat). Throw in some fruit, spoons, or other random objects and have fun saying Nooooo! It belongs in ____________ group!
Alexandria Zachos is the founder of SB (Social Butterfly Inc.) Speech Therapy. She has been a practicing Speech Language Pathologist for over 12 years.