Even though a child can talk at any time in their life, it is important to remember that speech and language development does not happen overnight. Speech therapy activities are essential in boosting any child’s language development from a significantly tender age. An additional and ongoing effort is needed over the course of a child’s life to improve their language skills. This post will walk you through some of the most effective and practical speech therapy activities for kids.
As your child grows, we hope you will get the opportunity to work with a speech-language pathologist and continue to develop the skills they need to communicate confidently with others.
What exactly is Speech Therapy?
It is an intervention used by Speech-Language Pathologists to help children with speech delay to improve their language skills. It is used to support fluency and articulation.
Speech therapy also improves children’s comprehension. The practice’s goal is to help the child communicate clearly and understandably. Children are taught how to interpret and comprehend language.
Every baby does not speak at the same rate; every child is unique. However, there are speech therapy activities for toddlers that you can do to help your child learn to speak.
What happens in toddler speech therapy?
Professional assistance is required. Speech-language pathologists can serve children with language and speech issues.
First, the speech-language pathologist will determine the best course of action. Several techniques are used during speech therapy:
- Using bulletin boards
- Signing or typing
- Facial muscle exercises to improve articulation
- The tone of voice modification
- Body language comprehension
These techniques are aimed at improving social communication and behavior. This, in turn, will increase the child’s social acceptance. SLPs usually work with the child’s caregivers to provide better and more appropriate care.
Children with autism become more socially aware with the help of speech therapy. Although no single method has been proven to be effective, combining a couple of them could be extremely beneficial to the child’s speech and language development.
There are numerous other methods. A speech-language pathologist and your child’s doctor would choose the best ones.
Other supportive practices for home-based speech therapy exist in addition to professional assistance. We’ve compiled a list of speech exercises and activities you can do at home with your child.
Activities /Strategies For Speech Therapy
Use simple sounds when talking to them
Even when a baby is a newborn, use simple sounds like “da” and “ma,” or “ba” and “aa,” or “ooh.” Children respond positively to these vowels and consonants. These simple speech therapy activities will support your child in speaking. They listen and try to imitate you as they grow.
Speak slowly so the baby can understand
Try to use simple words and friendly tones. If you speak to your toddler face to face, she will understand what you are saying. Maintain eye contact while speaking slowly and patiently. If the child incorrectly repeats the words, gently repeat them in the correct order so she understands the difference.
TV does not help to get children to talk
Turn off the TV as soon as you get home, and keep it off when your toddler is in the room. Contrary to popular belief, television is not included in speech therapy activities. Contact with other people is essential for language development.
Play with your child
Playing is an excellent way to communicate with your child while also developing motor skills and reaping numerous other benefits. Allow your toddler to direct your actions. Stay in the background and only do what is asked of you. Playing with your child builds confidence without putting pressure on them to speak. Playing is an enjoyable aspect of your speech therapy sessions.
Engage your child in physical activities. Using facial muscles can help children articulate words. You can blow bubbles together, for instance. Also, repeating words in front of a mirror would help your kid imitate you and learn how to sound the letters.
Tell and describe to your baby what you are doing at any particular time
Continue to talk about what you’re doing while feeding, bathing, or changing your child. If you’re going out, tell them where you’re going in simple terms. You’ll be amazed at how much information tiny brains can store and recall at the appropriate times.
Describe your everyday activities.
While in the grocery store, point out the vegetable and name it. Explain what you are doing while cooking a meal. Point out objects around the house when you are cleaning it. Make your explanations simple.
Storytelling is another great tool to encourage your child to speak and share more information. You can turn simple routines into little stories, adding items of interest to your child.
Read books as a speech therapy activity.
One of the best speech therapy activities is to read a book with lots of colorful pictures and words. Your child will enjoy reading a book while curled up on your lap. Reading becomes associated with safety and love. This activity can instill a lifelong love of books in your child.
Reading aloud age-appropriate books while also describing the pictures will grab their attention. While you name things in the book, the child will have a visual aid.
This may encourage learning new words. Similar to signing, reading books aloud expand the child’s vocabulary
Introduce colors and shapes
As you play with your child, show them colors on colorful building blocks and other items, gently point out the colors and shapes, and say the name of the shape and color. Your child naturally and simultaneously learns to distinguish between colors and shapes.
Use appropriate hand gestures
Speech Therapy Activities
Along with the appropriate words, use a variety of hand movements such as clapping, peek-a-boo, itsy bitsy spider (fingers crawling up his arm), waving when you leave, and other gestures. These hand gestures help the child associate a word with its meaning and expand their vocabulary.
Singing and rhyming
Use a variety of hand movements, such as clapping, peek-a-boo, itsy bitsy spider (fingers crawling up his arm), waving when you leave, and other gestures, in addition to the appropriate words. All of these hand gestures help children associate words with their meanings and expand their vocabulary.
Introduce new words
Add to words your child already says, such as “doll,” by saying “big doll” or “pink doll” if he or she says doll. Your baby is learning new words and making associations between them. Point to yourself and say “mommy/daddy,” then to him and say his or her name.
Teach them to ask for things
When giving your child food, name it. For example, “How about an apple?” We have some red apples. “Would you like an apple or a banana, baby?” Children learn to ask for things and make decisions, whether it’s a shirt, a dress in the morning, or the choice between eggs or pancakes. This activity can also aid in the neurodevelopment of your baby.
When your child says something, make eye contact with him to encourage him. Only correct him by repeating what he/she is saying with the correct words, so the child learns how to say words correctly.
Teach “thank you” and “please” early
Children learn to be polite to their parents. When speaking to them and other family members, use the words please and thank you. These words will become second nature to your child. Encourage family members to benefit by cooperating. This activity will also help your child grow into a well-mannered adult in the future.
Rethink Your Toys
We’re not the only ones to go to work daily. Our kids go to work when they play. Playtime, which is fun, is also a very important time for children to learn. Children learn and use language in their play, so having good toys is important! Based on her experience with speech therapy for toddlers, a speech therapist suggests removing many bright-colored toys that light up, talk, and play music. These toys do all the work themselves rather than our kids doing it.
She expertly proposes toys that allow for many open-ended play opportunities, like blocks and balls. One of her favorites is playing with phones, which is a toy that encourages language development! Lastly, she discusses the benefits of rotating your child’s toys. This way, it saves money and keeps your child from getting bored because it seems like a new toy every time! It also helps your child learn even more because it allows them to refresh skills that have been “put away” for a while.
Nothing works better than a toy to aid your child’s speech development. If you ask any Speech-Language Pathologist, they will tell you that the best method is to play with your child, and regarding playing, toys can be a useful tool to help train your baby’s speech and language skills.
Toys that allow your child to move around and play with them manually are the best for stimulating children’s speech and language development. So, when purchasing toys, look for the following main points:
- Toys that are of high quality and can withstand a beating.
- Toys that your child enjoys, such as cars, animals, dolls, painting, and so on.
- Toys that stimulate the imagination (i.e., stacking wooden block toys)
- Avoid purchasing battery-operated toys.
- Toys that promote physical activity (i.e., a ball)
- Wooden Blocks
Toddlers enjoy stacking blocks. You can gradually discuss the red block or the one with the letter A if you get colorful ones with letters on them. Words like “tall,” “up,” and “on” can be taught
Look at your child and get down at their level
You might be surprised at how often you say things to your child while facing each other. Not only should you slow down to help your toddler learn a language and become a better communicator, but you should also look at your child when you speak and try to kneel to get at his or her level. This helps your child focus on you and what you’re saying while reducing distractions.
Time is of the essence in today’s hectic world. Everywhere we look, we expect immediate results. Fast food, commercial fast-forwarding, express oil changes, you name it. There’s a faster way to do it! However, this is not how children learn a language. They require our assistance and our patience. Make sure you give your child enough time to respond. You may not realize it, but we sometimes do too much for them instead of waiting to see if they can do it alone.
Stop counting and start communicating
While teaching your child numbers, shapes, and colors is important, you shouldn’t put too much emphasis on it during their first few years. Of course, they should not be excluded, but they should be exposed to more natural situations. These early years are the most absorbent for their brains! Allow letters and numbers to enter his or her vocabulary gradually. We don’t want our child’s vocabulary to be limited to these, so try to communicate about everything you and your child see in his or her surroundings. Talk about it when your child points to something. Pose questions and wait for them to respond. Describe what you’re both doing. Talk to them instead of just singing the ABCs.
Technology and Online Courses.
Technology has a great deal to offer. Numerous tools are available online to help you have a productive and enjoyable speech therapy session. There are also mobile options available for Speech Therapy. You can practice quality Speech Therapy in the comfort of your own home by downloading the app to your phone or tablet.
Recommended: Nurturing Creativity in Children
To sum things up
The best way to support your child’s speech and language development is to encourage and model good behaviors and use speech therapy activities that are most effective for him or her.
Even the most well-intentioned adults may inadvertently limit their child’s speech development because they lack knowledge about what’s best for them. Although it may seem like an unnecessary task, it’s important to make the right choices for your child’s speech and language. This article has provided some of the most effective and practical speech therapy activities you can do with your toddler. Explore your options, and find what works best for your child and how he can be given the best help.