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Let's Play: the speech and language way

Speech and language therapy ideas for playing at home

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language

Playing with… DOORS

Toys with doors are so magical!  The doors OPEN… and CLOSE!  Ha!  Seriously, the doors can uncover all kinds of wonderful objects inside.

Want to practice colors?  Many of the toys with doors come with colored shapes/ objects to categorize or name.

Use the doors to hide objects with a specific sound.  For example if you want to practice “f” then hide objects (or pictures) like the numbers 4 and 5, a fan, feet, foot, food, fish, etc…

Practicing animals sounds and names?  Hide animals.  Then when the door opens make the animal say “hi” or greet with the appropriate “moo” or “woof”!

Don’t limit the toy’s usefulness to whatever objects were included with it.  If it was a garage-type toy you don’t always have to park cars.  Get out some little people or figurines and put them to bed in their rooms – “night, night” and “ssshhhh”.

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Another great feature of many toys with doors is that they often come with keys!  This is a great opportunity for your little one to ask for “HELP” or ask for the “key” that you may have forgotten to give them (on purpose).  Remember to also practice “knock, knock, knock(ing)” on the doors to see if anyone is home “helllllooooo?”

Toys with doors use the same concept as peekaboo or hide and seek.  Remember how your little one loved books with flaps?  Same idea.   IMG_20170817_163339

Call out to the hiding object “MONkey?  Where ARE you?”  Practice “yes” and “no” responses by purposefully finding the wrong object once or twice “is this a monkey? noooo” before finding the right one “yessssss!”  Sometimes a “tada” or “woohoo” works well when you’re really excited about finding the right one 🙂

When it’s time to clean up, make sure to say “bye monkey” and “bye bye” to all the objects, maybe even wish them “sweet dreams” and blow them a kiss!

Click on images to find products with doors and keys!

Disclosure: I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.


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Communicating before words

Some parents have shared with me that they are hesitant to teach their baby sign language because they want their baby to talk.  To them, the idea that we are teaching baby to communicate without words was taking a step back.  I used to try to explain that sign language is “just a bridge we use to help reduce frustration and give baby a way to communicate.” However, that doesn’t always convince everyone.

What if we stop saying “baby sign language” and just call it gesturing?  Sometimes explaining that teaching basic sign language to children, whom we fully expect will be verbal communicators, as simply elaborate gesturing gets people on board.

In this video, my own son uses the sign for “more” (and vocalizes “muh”) when the water stops flowing.

So how is baby sign language like gesturing?  When I wave, that means “hi” or “bye”. We usually say “hi” and “bye” at the same time that our hand moves.  So, is waving a gesture or is it sign language? Has learning to wave ever stopped a baby from talking? Of course not.

It’s normal and natural to talk with our hands and to gesture. For the vast majority of babies, learning a few extra signs is just like teaching a few extra gestures. It’s normal and natural 🙂

Still not sure?  Click on the article below for more information.

The Importance of Gestures

There is no “right” time to introduce signs.  Some people start when baby is a newborn.  Others wait until she starts to do other gestures such as waving, clapping, or pointing.  You can start any time your child is not yet fully communicating with words, age really isn’t important.  Even when some toddlers start using words they can be difficult to understand.  Gestures, or signing, can help differentiate whether “muh” was more, milk, or even the woman across the street who looks like a mama.

Choose 2-3 words that may be helpful in reducing frustration such as “more” and “all done” and 2-3 favorite foods/animals/toys/activities. No need to learn all the signs and don’t feel pressured to become fluent in American Sign Language.  Just use enough to get communication going.  Some children might really take to signing and use several dozen signs.  Others will quickly understand the symbolism of gestures/words to objects and start to vocalize for those objects.


For those interested in baby sign language…Here are two really great websites with searchable video and/or picture dictionaries.

http://www.babysignlanguage.com/
http://www.signingtime.com/resources/dictionary/

For DVDs to watch with your little one at home:

                  


You may also be interested in reading these posts about children who aren’t yet talking:  Where are the WORDS? and Playing with…sounds

For a FREE, printable version of this post, go to: FREE Handouts you can print out


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Disclosure: I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Playing with…sounds

Most kids love music and love to make noise! Singing is a great way to play and also helps with activities like diaper changes, mealtimes, getting dressed, etc. Take the tune of “If You’re Happy and You Know It” and sing about putting your shoes on…

“Put your shoes on your feet on your feet
Put your shoes on your feet on your feet
Put your shoes on your feet, that will really be neat
Put your shoes on your feet on your feet”

Shaking, tapping, chiming, banging on musical instruments allows for plenty of imitation practice with various beats and simple rhythms.  Also, it naturally gives you the opportunity to announce “ready, set…” let your toddler fill-in “GO” and then lots of cheering and clapping when the song is finished!

Using instruments, or even just clapping your hands, can help little ones hear the “beats” or syllables of longer words like “FI-RE-TRUCK” and “BA-NA-NA”.

Using simple consonant and vowel sounds in play can also be lots of fun and help baby try to imitate speech sounds outside of words. Try some of these for consonants:

“mmm” when eating or thinking
“ttt” or “bbb” when tapping or banging drums
“rrr” for pirates and race cars
“ggg” when pretending to drink or put gas in a toy car

Don’t forget the vowels…
“EIEIO” in Old MacDonald song
“uh-oh”
“eeeoeeeo” for sirens
“wheeee” when sliding or pouring water

For lots more sound play ideas, check out:  Where are the WORDS?

For music to play in the car, check out: Playing with…MUSIC and SINGING!

Need some sound-making toys that DON’T require batteries?  Click on the images below:

          


Be sure to “like” and follow my Facebook page for all the latest play ideas and information about my play classes, parent workshops, and in-home play sessions.

Disclosure: I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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