The holiday period is often challenging for parents to continue to think of new ideas to keep their child engaged and often need extra speech activities for that extra dose of fun. Here are a few that can keep your child on their toes – please note these tasks are aimed for those between 2-6 years old:
Have a Surprise Bag of Goodies!
Often children love suspense and surprises. All you will need is a big bag which you can buy from the dollar shop/Big W/Kmart etc. Fill it up with different small toys that you know your child loves but also have some new surprises. If you look online you can find extra trinkets/lucky dips as well (packs of 20 or 100 from BakerRoss.com.au for example.) Wind-up toys can also be a good addition to your lucky dips. You can play a game of ‘What’s in the bag today?’ to get some language started.
Bubbles in the Backyard
Most speech pathologists love bubbles! It’s an oldie but a goodie. You can make a twist on using bubbles at home by using them in your backyard and getting your child to run around to earn them and request for them. If you live in an apartment and this isn’t very suitable for you, take the bubbles to the park. This is a great opportunity to use concepts like ‘up’ and ‘down’ and ‘high’ and ‘low’ etc. when blowing out bubbles. A bubble machine can also make things a little more exciting too! You can work on single words, two words (bubbles please), three words (I want bubbles) and short sentences (e.g. I want bubbles please.)
A Tray Full of Vehicles
Another great idea is getting some small toy vehicles (cars, buses, trains etc.) and putting them into a tray filled with some kinetic sand. This is a super tactile activity where you can teach your child the different names of vehicles and also teach them a few verbs as well (e.g. ‘car is moving’ ‘driving the bus’ etc.) It’s great for some ‘ready set go’ turn-taking play as well.
A Tray Full of Animals
You can buy a set of animal figurines from Kmart or on Amazon online and do a similar activity in a tray of kinetic sand. The different animals will be super exciting as you can practice a range of animal sounds and also expand your child’s vocabulary through the array of animals. If you are targetting a specific speech sound e.g. /k/ in initial position, then you could try and focus on all the animals that start with /k/ e.g. cat, koala, cow.
Play Dough or Wooden/Velcro Play Food
Teaching children pretend play skills through food can be fun and this is another hands-on activity. You can expand your child’s range of foods that they are aware of and also work on learning the different colours of the food etc.
Magnetic Blocks or Duplo Blocks/Water Play
This is another easy favourite of most speech pathologists. Building blocks can be super fun as it allows your child to be as creative as they want. You can work on colours, concepts such as ‘up’ ‘higher’ ‘bigger’ ‘smaller’ etc and not to mention, it will help work on their fine motor skills which is an added bonus. You can also make this into a tray activity and put water into the tray to create moats and rivers around their towers!
Baby Doll Play
If your child is already a big brother or sister, this activity will be super relatable for them. This will require a baby doll, perhaps a pram, a bottle, some toy cutlery, a blanket etc. so it is only probably worth investing in if you know your child will enjoy this activity. It is a superb activity to work on verbs including ‘eating’ ‘sleeping’ ‘drinking’ ‘playing’ etc.
These are just a few favourites that are bound to keep your child active and perhaps even encourages more outdoor play as opposed to speech therapy activities that are usually done in a clinic setting/a room at your home.