Akron speech therapist on speech-language boosting activities while dad plays rings with daughter

Akron Speech Therapist Activity Recs for Speech & Language Development

Speech & language development is a key element of a child’s growth. As parents, you play a vital role in that. As an Akron speech therapist, part of my role is help aid parents in that pursuit – especially when there is concern that a child’s speech-language might be delayed or disordered.

Engaging in specific activities can make a major difference in boosting speech and language development – and it doesn’t have to be super complicated. Sometimes, even just slightly tweaking some of what you do normally can make a major difference.

For example: You already read together with your child each night before bed. AWESOME! Now, just take this a few steps farther:

  • Use expressive voices – the funnier, the sillier, the better.
  • Point to pictures – and encourage your child to point to objects and turn the pages.
  • Ask questions and discuss the story. Ex: “What do you think will happen next?”
  • Use picture books and take time to name objects and describe the scenes.
  • Don’t rush through. Pause on each page to give your child a little more time to really process what they’re seeing and pair the images depicted with the language that correlates.

Like anything else, speech & language skills take time – and practice – to master. The more opportunities you can give your child at home, the more & faster they’ll learn.

Other ideas from an Akron speech therapist to improve child’s speech & language skills:

  • Sing songs and nursery rhymes. These are great fun (especially for kids under 5) & the rhythm and repetition are excellent for language development because they help kids learn and practice new words and sounds. Take it to the next level by singing a variety of songs and use hand motions and dances to encourage your child to join in. If you’re feeling extra creative, consider creating songs about your own daily routines, such as brushing your teeth or getting dressed in the morning.
  • Interactive games. Any game that requires verbal interaction is going to help with speech & language skills. Simple games like, “Simon Says” and “I Spy” are a lot of fun, and require kids to tap into their own creativity, follow directions, and practice cognitive skills like observation, inferencing and critical thinking. If you’re playing a board game, encourage your child to describe their own game piece. Say each of the steps out loud (i.e., “Now I’m moving my green horse one-to-three squares forward.”), and model good turn-taking, communication, and sportsmanship. Compliment them and other players when you see them doing something right.
  • Make the most of everyday moments. Everyday activities like driving, shopping, cooking, etc. are great opportunities for speech & language development. As an Akron speech therapist, I love these the most because these are things you have to do anyway – why not make the most of them by encouraging your child to communicate. Name and describe objects or animals, talk about what you’re doing, describe your processes and the environment. Have your child join in when possible with simple instructions. Some parents say they feel a little weird verbalizing every step of their grocery shopping to a toddler who probably seems like they could care less. But the truth is, they are paying attention, they are hearing you, and their brains are little sponges. Talk early and often about any and everything.
  • Arts & crafts. Creative activities like coloring, drawing, crafting – kids can really get into it, and it’s great practice for introducing new vocabulary. Describe the colors, shapes, textures, and actions. Ask your child to explain the steps they took to make a particular thing. Illustrate concepts like “under” “over” “next to” and between.”

Another thing to keep in mind is you want to use technology wisely. There are so many educational apps and videos that can be beneficial when it comes to supplemental language learning. However, nothing replaces in-person interactions and engagement. If you’re going to allow your kids access to electronic devices and apps, make sure they’re high-quality and age-appropriate. Consider watching them together, when possible, so you can talk about the content during and afterward.

Therapy & Wellness Connection – your connection to a life without limitations – provides speech therapy to children in Akron, Cleveland, Brecksville-Broadview Heights and surrounding communities. We also offer summer camp, day programs, education services, vocational counseling and more. Call us at (330) 748-4807 or send us an email.

Additional Resources:

Activities to Encourage Speech and Language Development, ASHA

More Blog Entries:

Flip the Script: Brecksville Speech Therapists Talk “Scripting”, April 28, 2024, Akron Speech Therapist Blog