Category: Parent Tips

Using Coins To Grow Language

How much spare change do you have laying around at home? In jars, on top of the dryer, on the nightstand, maybe in the bathroom…you know you have it. Sometimes, it is not very much. Other times, it’s enough for a Dr. Pepper and vanilla ice cream cone at Sonic during Happy Hour…completely hypothetical! Why not use that spare change at the bottom of your purse to encourage your little one’s language skills? Not we are not talking, toddler age. They are still putting too many foreign objects in their mouths. But your preschooler? Ideal for this activity! Here are some ways to use coins to enrich language!

Tips for Using Coins for Language Skills

Basic Sorting: Early categorizing skills can be reinforced here! Sort quarters and pennies for the easiest task. For a little more challenging task, have him separate nickels and dimes. Use the quarters to teach “big,” and the dimes to teach “little” if you are sorting those.

Coin Value: It’s never too early too teach the value of coins. Consistently reviewing it will only help when it comes time for them to start school. They will be one step ahead in math when this concept comes around!

Basic Comparing: Lay out some change and ask your child to build towers with the coins. Stack all the quarters in one tower. All the nickels in another, and so on. Then, talk about which stack is the tallest, shortest, which are the same. Instead of stacking the coins, your child can line the coins up. Afterwards, talk about which line is longer, shorter, etc. Group coins together and work on concepts like “more,” “most,” “less,” “few,” and “same.”

Presidents: No, your child does not know George or Abe. But they can! Little ones are like sponges. They soak up everything we say! If you don’t believe me, stay something negative about a family member in front of your child. Then, see how many shades of red you turn when sweet little Susie repeats that same comment to the said family member! SPONGES!! Talk about who is on the quarter, nickel, dime and penny. Maybe even find a cute book about one of them on Amazon.

So, I’ve given you my tips on how to coins to encourage your child’s language skills. Nothing fancy. Nothing expensive. Just plain old coins that sit in the console of your car, forgotten.


Need some tips? How about this one?

Speech Therapy in the Home: Using Valentine Cards

Every year, I always have leftover Valentine cards. There’s 20 kids in the class but the Valentine card companies package the cards in quantities of 32.   I’m pretty sure it’s a conspiracy of some sort but I digress. Anyway, what should you do with those leftover cards? I have some ideas for you! That’s code for easy tips for speech therapy in the home, moms!!!

Ideas for Speech Therapy Home Practice

  1.  Articulation:  Is your little one working on beginning /k/ words?  Write some of those words on the extra valentines.  Place them in a bag, basket, bucket, etc so that your child can pull the cards out and practice the words.  Easy enough!
  2. Describing:  Use the card as it and have your child use describing words to tell about the picture/character.  For older kids, write different household objects on the card and have them describe the object.
  3. Spatial Concepts:  Take some of the valentines and “hide” them in a room.  Have your child find each card and tell you where they found them using position words.  For example, if you put one under the coffee table, the child should use “under” in his sentence.
  4. Sorting:  Whether you have one box or 4, have your child work on sorting skills.  Tear the cards apart and group them according to the picture.

These are just a few ideas for parents out there. I often have parents ask me what types of activities they can do in the home to carryover the skills. My answer is always “KEEP IT SIMPLE!” Families are busy with different schedules, homework and other obligations. You also need to keep it cheap! There is no need for parents to spend a ton of money on activities. Use everyday objects and routines to enhance your child’s speech and language skills!

Needing some more tips for home practice? Try this one!

Use “Wreck this Journal” in Speech Therapy

My daughter bought a “Wreck this Journal” several months ago at a book store. I really did not know much about them. Then, she asked for another one for Christmas. So, I started looking at them. Man!!! How cool would these be to use in speech therapy?! Yes, even as a mother, I look at EVERYTHING from an SLP viewpoint. “How can I use this in therapy?” crosses my mind probably 10x a day (and that is on the low side). And OF COURSE, I bought her more than one!

Back to the journal…these things are so cool! If you are not familiar with them, they work like this: each page tells you something to do with the journal or that page. For instance, the page pictured below, asks the child to fill the page with circles they find. As you can see, my daughter found a bottle cap, a button, a coin and a sticker from Target.

Here’s Why I Love Them for Speech Therapy

I think these would be fun for speech therapy, especially for older elementary kids up to middle school. It would be a great conversation starter as well as a fun activity for students to complete. Give each student a page or complete the page together in the group-either way it will be beneficial.

  1.  Descriptions:  Several of the pages includes describing words such as “Place Sticky Things Here.”
  2. Being Observed in the Environment (which can lead to conversation!!) since there is a page that asks you to document time in a new environment
  3. Categories: Write down all the street names in your immediate vicinity.
  4. Asking Questions/Making a Request: Get this page stamped by someone.

These are just a few ways you could use these books in speech therapy.  There are several books to choose from.  Your book may not have the same prompts as the one I used here.  Spontaneous conversation  is a major added bonus that comes with completing the tasks in these books.

Parent Tip: Using Mittens to Encourage Language

It’s that time of the year when our entry ways are full of winter outwear. Coats, scarves, hats and mittens are hanging from every chair and hook in the house. Why not use those mittens/gloves in a fun way to encourage language? I’ve got some tips for you!

Language Tip #1: Matching

This one is simple. Grab all the sets of gloves/mittens in the house and play a matching game. Matching objects is a basic skill that kiddos need! I see it as the precursor to comparing objects.

Language Tip #2: Describing

Once you’ve found a few mittens, play “I Spy” with them! This is a great way to work on describing skills and understanding distinguishing qualities. Lay the mittens out on the floor and start describing such as “I spy the mitten with red stripes.” When your child finds the correct mitten, then it’s his turn to give a description!

Language Tip #3: Comparing

Take 2 different mittens and talk about how they are the same and different. Do they have the same patterns? Are they the same size? These are just a few of the questions to ask your child.

Language Tip #4: Hide and Seek

Hide mittens around the house. To make it easier, hide them in one room. As your child finds the mitten, he has to tell where he found. Be sure he is using positional words like “UNDER the chair,” or “BESIDE the couch.” You want to make sure they are not using the phrase “right there.”

You can easily turn this into a following directions activity! Hide the mittens just as you would above. Then tell your child to find a mitten using phrases like, “Find the mitten on the table.”

 Language Tip #5:The Mitten

Have you heard the story of “The Mitten?” It’s about some wild animals that find a mitten and they all squeeze into it…even a giant bear! Make your own version at home with some plastic animals. You can encourage naming the animals as your child puts each one in the mitten. You can work on the concepts of “in” and “out.” You can even play “I Spy” with the animals such as “I spy an animal with spots in the mitten.” The child has to find the leopard and put it in the mitten. Work on sequencing! Talk about what animal went into the mitten first, next, last, etc.

The point is you can turn something as simple as a mitten into a language tool! You do not need expensive toys and loud gadgets to encourage language with your child. What are some other ideas for using mittens?

Need some more fun ideas to help encourage language? Try this post!

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?!