Category: Parent Tips

Tips for Enriching Language with Halloween Candy!

It’s Halloween!  It’s probably #2 on the scale of “The Best Day of My Life” that every kid has.  And all you can think about is, “What the heck am I gonna do with all that candy?”   Well, you are in luck.  I just happen to think about writing this post just for parents (and SLPs) like you!  Not parents like me…one year we paid our kids to NOT go trick or treating.  But you’re a good parent and you took your kids wandering through neighborhoods at night, asking strangers for candy.  Here’s how you can use that candy to enrich language skills.

Tips for Enriching Language on Halloween

I posted my first You Tube video today with a few tips that I will mention in the blog post.  If you want to check it out, I would love it!  Don’t feel like you have to though!:)

Language Tip 1

This was my first tip in the video.  Categorize the candy.  Sort according to type (Snickers, Twix, Kit Kat all in their respective groups), ingredients (no peanuts vs peanuts, chocolate vs fruit flavored), or size.  Talk about which group has more/less.  What you don’t realize it you are not only helping language, you are helping math skills too!

Language Tip 2

Compare and contrast the candy.  What are the differences between a Snickers and a Starburst?  How are they the same?  Which candies are close to the same?

Language Tip 3

Sort Skittles, Starbursts or M&Ms according to color.  This is great for the little ones!  Work on naming colors, grouping colors, requesting (such as “I want purple.”) and SHARING!  Once they are all sorted, count!  Practice counting even if it is only to 10!

Language Tip 4

Using the candy to work on pronouns.  This is a great activity for two or more kids.  “She has a Twix.”  or “He has M&Ms” are great ways to use pronouns in context.  Find other ways to work in “him,” “her” or “me” such as “The Hershey’s belongs to her.”   Have fun and make it natural!

Language Tip 5

Use that bucket of candy to work on longer utterances!   Have your child make a request such as “I want Snickers please” or “Can I have Twix please?”  Have them tell you what they are eating like “I am eating M&Ms.”  Bonus points for the correct verb!!!

This is an articulation tip!  Have a kiddo working on “s”?  Have him pull a piece of candy from his bucket and say the name of the candy!  Doesn’t have an “s”?  No worries, use the phrase “I see a Kit Kat.”

 

These are all pretty simple to use ideas really require little planning.  Hoping everyone has a safe and fun night!

Need some more tips for enriching language?  How about this one for family outings?!

 

Light Switch Articulation: Tips for Parents

Parents often struggle with working on articulation at home.  Most parents will correct their child during day to day interactions-which is GREAT!  But the trouble is making it fun!  I have come up with a few ideas in the past to work on articulation such as using flashlights.  Today’s tip is equally as easy!  All you need is a few notecards to write words on and some tape.

Articulation Tips for Parents

 

Set up for the Activity

Write words with your child’s target sound on index cards.  Only write one word per card.  Tape a card to each light switch your child uses.  Make sure the child flips these switches or has access to these switches regularly throughout the day.  My kids rarely go in my bedroom or bathroom so I would not put cards on either of those switches.  But living room, kitchen, den, hallway, and their bedrooms and bathrooms would all get cards!  Depending on the age of your child, you might even put one on the laundry room switch too!

Addressing Articulation with the Activity

Each time the child enters the room with a light switch card, he has to practice the word correctly 3x.  Once he’s practiced it correctly, then he can carry on as usual in the room!  When he leaves the room, he has to practice the word again 3x before turning off the switch and moving on.

Articulation Tips for Parents

Adapting the Activity

Let’s say your kiddo is not a reader, just use pictures!  Whether you draw them (you go, artsy girl!), use clipart or stickers, find pictures that fit your child’s target sound.

Have a kiddo not in speech?  First of all, not sure why you are reading my blog BUT welcome!!  Second, this activity can easily be adapted for sight words, letters/sounds, simple math, shapes, or colors.

Craving  more parent tips?  Be sneaky with this post.   Or this idea is sure to have you popping!

National Waffle Day Fun!

Did you know that today is National Waffle Day?  I know…I’m not sure why the banks didn’t shut down either.  While I am not a big breakfast eater, I sure do love a good waffle.  So today in honor of this “major” holiday, I am bringing you some fun ideas to use with the kids!  You know I think having kids in the kitchen is a great way to enrich language!!!  What’s so great about cooking with this kids?  Only EVERYTHING!  As a parent, you can teach skills in a natural environment.  At school, it’s all “fake.”  Measuring is abstract as at school but at home it’s REAL!  You are actually measuring flour and sugar.  If you miss up, there’s real consequences like your waffles taste yucky!  Sequencing, following directions, asking questions, requesting ingredients, vocabulary…oh my gosh, I could go on and on.

Waffle Recipes to Encourage Language Skills

Rainbow Waffle

Rainbow Waffles

These rainbow waffles from Tablespoon.com are downright adorable!  You can easily work with your kids on learning colors with this recipe!!  Perfect for those preschoolers struggling with requesting items, colors and older kids that need help with following directions and spatial concepts (under, above, on, etc).

Pencil Waffles

Back to School Breakfast: Pencil Waffles

Back to School Waffles?  PERFECT for this week!  I wished I had found this before my kids started back this week!  How cute are these pencil waffles from The Joys of Boys?!  Once the waffles are made, talk with your kiddos about what we use pencils for (object function), other writing tools (categories) and how a pencil looks (describing).  These are all great ways to encourage language.

Christmas Tree Waffles

Christmas Breakfast Ideas for Kids - Waffles

Ok, no I am on a crazy Christmas kick in this hot Texas August.  I just thought these were really cute and had to be added to the list!  So you can go on over to The Best Ideas for Kids and pin this to one of your Pinterest boards.  I love this one because you can talk about top, middle and bottom with your kids.  Shapes is another concepts that would be easy to target-tree (triangle pieces), sprinkles (circles) and of course the star on top!

If it’s too late in the day to have one of these for breakfast, how about dinner?

 

Need more ideas to incorporate language skills?  Try this one!

 

 

Speech Therapy Tools: A Review of Speech Blubs

I happened to stumble across this app in one of my speech therapy Facebook groups. They were offering a free trial to the first 10 private practioners that commented on the post. I figured “What the heck?” So I downloaded the free trial and I have ABSOLUTELY LOVED it!! It has been an awesome motivator for my little ones struggling to produce sound. I have several kiddos that are non-verbal, low verbal or kiddos with Autism.  These clients do not respond to the general way of practicing sound production.  INSERT SPEECH BLUBS!!  I will point out now this is not a cheap app!  So read my entire post to see if it is worth the $$$$!

What is Speech Blubs?

In their words, they are “a team of parents, digital experts and speech therapists aiming to revolutionize the way kids learn to speech and tackle some the biggest challenges in children’s speech and language development.”  They recognized the need to reach kiddos in a “non traditional articulation ” approach.  No child wants to sit and repeat “Moo” over and over with a plastic cow.  Speech Blurbs makes it fun and interactive.  Think Snapchat filters mixed with an articulation app.  Kids love it!

Sections of Speech Blubs

Speech Blurbs speech therapy App Review

There are 3 sections that you can choose from.  My favorite to use is definitely Early Sounds.  It address simple environment noise and fosters tons of imitation and repetition.  I used this one with all of my kiddos who are low verbal.  This instantly gets them jabbering!  The child models the sound.  Then you can flip the screen to your client to give them some face time.  That’s when the filter goes on!  So if you are working on “Moo,” cow horns will appear on your client.

Mouth Gym is the next one.  It is more oral motor skills.  All those general oral mech exam exercises are made way more fun when there’s a turkey on your head!  There are children modeling the exercise.  Then your client has the chance to be on the screen to show their stuff.

First Words is the last section.  It does exactly that-work on common words like tree, elephant and star.  The only thing I don’t like about this section is you can’t choose the words you want to work on.  There’s no list.  You choose a “blurb” and that when you find out the word.  I would prefer to be able to go through the app and find the words I want to work on.

For the Parents

It’s a good app for parents because you can take your child through the screener.  You can set daily reminders to work on sounds with your child.  HOWEVER, and this is BIG…the app costs $9.99 each month or you can buy a yearly subscription for $99.99!

Now, remember I really like this app.  But do I like it for  $100…NEGATIVE GHOSTRIDER!  I when it comes to apps.  But if it is good, I will buy it.  I don’t spend $100 on apps even if they are ridiculously awesome.

But, I have met parents at their wit’s end, desperate for their child utter a sound.  They are willing to spend any amount to get their child to imitate animal sounds.  If you are one of those parents, try it for a month.  If it’s not for your child, you are only out $10.  Maybe it works for your child, you can upgrade your subscription.

The company has given me 10 codes for 6 months free months!  Want one?  Email me at speechchicktherapy@sbcglobal.net to request yours! I only have 10 so once they are gone, that’s it!

Family Outings That Secretly Work on Language!

Summer’s almost over.  Why not get in some last minute fun family outings?  I have some suggestions for some fun that you can secretly sneak language into!  I did my best to keep them cheap because let’s face it…school supplies and school clothes get expensive.  Especially if you are shopping for more than one child.

Family Outings That Secretly Work on Language

  1. The Zoo:  This is an easy and obvious choice.  You can work on naming animals, talking about what they look like (describing), where they might live, etc.  Some of the animals you have to look for in their enclosures, so you can work on understanding spatial concepts like “Look! The tiger is up on the rock.” or “The lion is behind the tree.”  If your child is working on sounds (like /s/ or /r/), have them work on saying the animal names with their sounds.  You’ll easily spend the entire day at the zoo so why not work on language and speech goals in secret?!
  2. Ice Cream Shop: While it may not seem like much, allowing your child to order their ice cream (or any food) provides a great language experience.  They must use eye contact with the waiter and request what they are wanting.  My kids started ordering their own food at around 3 years old.  Sometimes, we had to help or translate what they meant but they still did it.
  3. Aquarium:  It’s just like going to the zoo (except with ocean/water animals and it’s inside in the A/C!)  Use the same ideas to target language and articulation as in #1.
  4. Park:  The park is a great place to work on language skills especially for little ones!  They can be prompted to use demands such as “push me,” or “help me” when swinging or sliding.  Talk about the concepts of “up” and “down” when sliding.  “Going up the slide” is one example.  Little ones are so busy running around they forget they are practicing language skills!
  5. Orchard:  Anything with food is great!  I know of several blueberry picking farms as well as a couple of orchards in my area that are great for kids!  Again, the kids get outside and busy picking/selecting fruits to take home that they forget about the learning experiences you are getting in.  Naming different fruits, learning the concepts of “empty” and :”full” when talking about your baskets, and learning which fruits grow on a tree and which grow on a vine are just a few ideas.  BONUS IDEA:  Plan a pie or cobbler with your freshly picked fruit and let the kids help!  If you aren’t one for being in the heat, wait until the fall for pumpkin season!!

What other outings can you think of that will increase language experiences for your child?

Try these ideas at home too!