Your child needs to practice a few specific sounds at home in between speech therapy sessions.  How do you do that?  First, you ask your speech therapist for ideas based on your child’s specific goals and skills.  Then, you consider what your real life is like at home with other children who need your attention, work responsibilities, etc. etc.  You may not realistically be able to set up a mini speech therapy session on a daily basis giving undivided attention to your child for at least 30 minutes.  If you can, great!  No need to read much further.

Carving out “practice time” or “speech time” may also impact your child’s ability to carryover these speech skills into real life use.  So, if sitting at a table to practice “s” with flashcards at home feels awkward and forced for you, it will also feel awkward and forced for your child.  Finding real life words and activities to practice sounds will help those skills generalize much quicker!

Let’s assume your child CAN make the target sound at least occasionally and so home practice will be mostly reminding your child to use the sound:

  1.  Write a list of your child’s favorite foods, games, people, pets, activities, TV show characters with that sound in the word.
  2.  Write a list of possible target words your child uses frequently that you can NOT easily make into flash cards (come here, give me, something, look!)
  3. Choose a word of the day – or week – and write it on a paper attached to the fridge (or some other place where everyone looks every day).
  4. Make those moments count!  Each time your child says asks for “something” make sure they are using the best “S” sound.  If they need to try again in order to get “sssomething” then they may be more motivated to try!

practice speech sounds with play

Here are some other ideas for simple (mostly one syllable), common words to practice every day…

Target sound “g”

  • puzzle play or legos or sorting: “where does it GO?”  “It GOES here”.  “It doesn’t GO here”
  • asking for anything, commands: “GIVE me… (please).”  “GET it.” “GO GET it”.
  • asking for more: “aGAIN”

Target sound “f”

  • puzzle play, hide ‘n’ seek, hidden pictures, matching: “Let’s FIND…”.  “I FOUND it!”
  • counting anything up to 5: “one, two, three, FOUR, FIVE”
  • giving things to others: “it’s FOR you, this is FOR me”

Target sound “l”

  • starting any activity: “LET’S (play!)” “LET’S (go)”
  • when your child wants to you notice something “mom, LOOK!”
  • hidden pictures, hide ‘n’ seek, finding missing socks, etc… “LET’S LOOK in here”
  • when you only give your child a small amount of something but they want “a LOT”
  • talking about what foods, activities, TV shows you “LIKE” and “don’t LIKE”

Target sound “s”

  • hidden pictures, matching, looking for items in the pantry or at the grocery store “I SEE it”.
  • answering basic questions “YESSSSSSSSSS”.
  • counting anything up to 7: “one, two, three, four, five, SIX, SEVEN”
  • “I’m SO hungry/thirsty/bored.” “I need SOMETHING”.
  • Any time you start a sentence with “It’s…” or “That’s…”

(The “s” sound is so common it easily and naturally comes up multiple times per day in conversation so look for it in play with a “SUperhero” or “prinCESS”, when getting “dreSSed” with “SockS”, going “outSIDE”, riding a “buS to School”, etc. etc.)

This is in no way an exhaustive list of practice ideas.  It’s just to get you thinking about words and contexts in which your child might already actually say these target sounds multiple times per day WITHOUT needing to find flashcards or games or pictures books that have these sounds in them.  Practicing speech when you’re already speaking will help meet goals faster and be more meaningful to your child.

Other related posts you may be interested in:

POWER words

Magical Moments

Toddler Speech: unraveling the mystery