When you are told that child needs a boost with expressive language development it might seem overwhelming to add yet another task to your endless to do list for the day.
Here are two games that you can play anywhere/anytime. They will help add language to any daily routine, no matter how busy you are.
I Spy: A classic game that can be played in the car, at the hockey rink while watching a sibling practice, or even in a doctor’s waiting room (which can be ruthlessly boring!) This game offers endless ways to incorporate your child’s speech goals into a fun game that requires no tools/objects and can be played anywhere and anytime during your busy day. Talk to your Speech-language Pathologist to discuss what specific language targets to focus on with your child.
Some tips for playing:
- Use simple language objectives by asking your child to simply state what they spy (e.g. I spy a telephone)
- Use more challenging objectives by playing the traditional way using describing words (e.g. I spy something that is red).
- Highlight additional language goals by adding location words (e.g . in, on, beside etc. – I spy a chair beside the table), and talking about the ‘function’ of an object (e.g. pulls, spins, opens – I spy a door that opens).
Who, What, When, Where: This is a simple speech game routine that you can play after school together on the way home in the car, around the dinner table or even in the bath before bed. Sometimes having our kids respond to ‘what did you do today?’ will lead to a frustrated response of ‘nothing’. It can often feel like pulling teeth having your child fill you in on their day. If your child also has difficulties with speech and language, this task may be even more difficult. In this game, your child has to tell you about one thing that happened in their day.
Some language objectives that are targeted here include sequencing events and early storytelling skills.
Some tips for playing:
- You can cue them to fill in the story with the ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘where’.
- For older kids challenge them with ‘why’ and ‘how’.
- You can model it for them by telling them something that happened in your day using the same template. For example, you could say and then expand to answer other WH- questions that go with that topic: “I saw Patty today. I saw her in the grocery store…”, or “I went to the park for lunch. I had a tuna sandwich”.
- After a couple of days repeating the routine together it will get easier for your child to share.
There are countless other ways to help incorporate language activities into your child’s daily activities. Talk to your Speech-language Pathologist about a speech therapy assessment and for more suggestions or strategies.
Have fun with the games and remember that you can work on language skills with your child anywhere.
Stephanie Mathias, M.S-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist, Reg. CASLPO