With Easter right around the corner, parents are busy preparing Easter baskets for their little ones. At Christmas time, I often get the question, “What can I get my child that help his language skills?” But I never get this question at Easter. As parents, we tend to spend quite a chunk of money on filling that basket. Only to then turn around and find most of the stuff broken or unused a week later. Why not fill the Easter basket with things your child will actually use AND reinforce good language skills?!
Here’s some ideas to fill those Easter baskets!
- Puzzles: Puzzles are great for a variety of reasons! Simple matching ones are perfect for toddlers. You can use those same ones for the preschoolers to work on naming objects/animals or requesting (ie-“I want the cat.” or “I want more.”) If you have an older child, work together on a harder puzzle. A 100 piece puzzle will give you and your child a chance to bond and talk as well as give your child the opportunity to use more critical thinking skills. Then glue it together and frame it!
- Mr./Mrs. Potato Head: What kid doesn’t love this toy? (Ok, I’ve had ONE kid that does not!) You can use it to work on body parts, following directions, even functions! (ie- “What do we see with?”)
- Books: This one is pretty easy! Buy a book, read the story, ask questions, talk about the pictures, etc. Great language enrichment skills there!
- Baby dolls/stuffed bunnies: These are great for pretend play! Teaching verbs in context like “Give the baby something to eat” is another great way to use the doll. Whether it’s for a boy or girl, imaginative play is good for language skills!
- Playdough: I know it’s messy but it’s so great for language. Pair it with a handful of cookie cutters and you have instant language! “I want the pink playdough,” “Can I have the cat cookie cutter?” are just some of the requests you might get. Colors, requesting, question asking, sharing are skills being used during this activity.
- Memory Games: You can find memory games now for super cheap! I have found some at Dollar Tree or the dollar spot at Target. These are great for vocabulary, sentence formation, turn taking, and matching.
- Ball: Any type of ball is great for an Easter basket. You can use it to work on following directions (“throw the ball”), reciprocal play (rolling the ball back and forth with two people) and, turn taking. The other added bonus is it gets kids moving and outside! Movement is not only great for kids’ bodies but also their brains!
- Plastic Eggs: You are already going to have tons of plastic eggs sitting around. Use them!! This idea is really great for little ones! Take the plastic eggs apart and use them to work on matching, colors,and following directions. Use those same eggs with your young school age kids to teach the concepts of half and whole. Hide them and have your child tell you where each one is (“under the table,” “up in the tree”).
- Stacker Toys: I love stacker toys for my little guys. The butterfly stacker (pictured below) is a big hit during the spring. Little ones can work on stacking, matching, requesting “more,” even eye hand coordination.
Easter baskets don’t have to be expensive. Many of these items were found at the dollar store. But the basket does not have to be full of useless toys that are never used again once Easter has passed. These suggestions are beneficial to all children, not just children with language impairments.
Wishing you and yours a happy Easter!