May is Better Hearing and Speech Month and we’d like to help raise awareness by providing activities you can do with your little one to supplement their speech and language therapy. We believe all children, including those with special health care needs, thrive when their physical, social and educational needs are properly addressed. During Better Hearing and Speech Month, we’re encouraging parents to create memories and work together with their Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) by providing five at-home activities to help your child develop everyday speech and language skills.
12 months >
This is a great time to start exposing your little one to the magic of books! Sitting down and reading to your child is often one of the best ways to improve their future reading and communication skills. At this early stage of life, it’s important to make sure you’re setting aside some time every day to explore books by looking at pictures and having your child duplicate syllables (e.g. mama, dada, moo-moo).
12 – 24 months
At this age, little ones start to build a stronger relationship between common objects and their purpose in the world. This makes it an excellent time to start playing pretend. Break out objects that your kiddo has seen you use in your everyday life and play pretend with these items. Talk about an imaginary meal you’re making together with a spatula, pretend to speak on the phone with one another, build houses or play areas with pretend tools. You’ll quickly find there’s no limit to the imagination.
2 years – 3 years
Games such as “I Spy” or “Hot and Cold” are great ways to build language comprehension and practice speech. Playing a few short rounds of “I Spy” in different parts of your home will encourage your little one to ask you questions that are related to the object you’ve chosen. “Hot and Cold” helps with learning and practicing simple prepositions such as “in”, “on”, “above” and “below” as well as directions like “up”, “down”, “left” or “right”.
3 years – 4 years
It’s important to take some time to encourage outside play and creativity. There are unlimited possibilities when it comes to the fun ways you and your little one can utilize sidewalk chalk for speech-language practice. Create your own hopscotch game, make your own speech word-related giant board game, or simply draw and color speech words in the driveway (e.g. animals or body parts). Let your kids have a great time expressing their creativity on the concrete canvas all while practicing the sounds they need to further develop.
4 years – 5 years
Write words that use the sounds your little one is currently practicing. Below the word, write down the number of syllables that word has. Once you’ve finished writing down 10 words, it’s time to have fun crumpling each piece of paper into a ball and tossing around the room. Have your kiddo pick up one of the paper balls, open it and read the word out loud. If they’ve read the word correctly, have them crumple it back up and toss the paper ball into a trash can. If they make a three-syllable word into the basket, they get three points! If it was a single syllable word, they get one point.
Taking time to work with your little on these activities can do wonders for their speech and language development. Our SLPs work to build these same skills during their visits with your kiddo and it’s important for parents to add in more activities to ensure success.
Below, we’ve provided a link to a list of easy-to-track milestones that will help you recognize your child’s progress during their early development journey. For more information on MGA Homecare’s pediatric therapy services, visit our pediatric therapy page.