Children of all ages within schools receive speech and language therapy. Some are not native English speakers, others need assistance with articulation, and some may have pragmatic needs due to an autism diagnosis. Each individual has different needs for their therapy sessions. It is important to look at the goals for each child and set up ways to actively engage them when they are with you for therapy.
It is especially important for young children to participate in preschool speech therapy activities. Addressing any speech impairments or disorders at an early age is critical for the trajectory of a child’s social and academic success. In this blog, we take a look at some effective speech therapy activities for toddlers that can be used by therapists and parents at home!
Get to know hobbies and interests
Preschoolers and toddlers respond more to sessions when they are invested in the content. Take time to do interest inventories of the kids that you work with to learn about their hobbies and interests. If they like space, you can gear some of the therapy time towards planets, photos from NASA, and other related items. Younger kids may just enjoy flashcards that are in the shape of a cat if they love kittens. The actual content can still be whatever you are working on at the time, but dress it up with things that they love from outside of school. Go a step further to assist those that need more social skill development. Work with others at the school to set up clubs for socializing. Build them around interests like Minecraft, LEGO, or games that everyone is into.
Sing songs and make up your own
Music is a fantastic item to incorporate into speech and language lessons. Younger children will enjoy singing songs to boost their self-confidence. While some toddlers may be shy and inhibited during regular sessions, singing will often break that shell. Use books of fun songs with repetition to get kids involved. Many stories now have silly spoofs in print for different holidays and observances. Young children more comfortable singing will probably enjoy making up their own silly songs. Speech pathologists can use beats from other songs and create their own using skills that are being worked on during sessions. Being able to share these will continue to encourage social skills and confidence building.
Take time to talk with others in your school and district to see what has worked in the past with children. Perhaps children enjoy acting, so it may be more beneficial to start an acting club. This will encourage all children from different areas to work together toward the goal of their production. When the entire team gets involved to think outside of the box, it will have more benefits for the kids. Keep an open mind and see how you can work on speech and language goals within unique settings to keep the kids working on their individual goals.
Speech Therapy Activities for Toddlers at Home
Virtual speech-therapy is becoming increasingly popular and teletherapy is offered at school districts across the country. The increased adaption to technology and the COVID-19 pandemic are two major factors that have accelerated this trend. There are still plenty of speech therapy activities that can be done virtually for young children at home. The internet is chalk-filled with free resources that SLPs can use during their virtual sessions. Some activities include:
- Online Quizzes – Quizzes are an excellent way to test a toddler’s speech progress virtually. Whether you create your own or find one online to use. With quizzes, you can test such a wide variety of toddler speech skills.
- Matching Games – Matching games are a fun and interactive way for young children to practice their sounds and word association.
- Whiteboard Feature – Most virtual teleconferencing platforms have a drawing or whiteboard feature. As a speech therapist, you simply need to transform a typically handwritten speech activity into a virtual one.
- Board Games – Interactive board games are great because they keep preschoolers engaged while they are unknowingly practicing their speech skills.
- Virtual Worksheets – Like all of the above-mentioned activities, finding online PDFs and worksheets are great for virtual speech therapy lessons. Worksheets coupled with video conferencing truly opens doors for what is possible during teletherapy with young children.
If you are a speech therapist interested in finding your next job opportunity, make sure to check out ProCare Therapy‘s full listing of SLP and virtual SLP job openings. Follow the button below!Search Speech Therapy Jobs