Speech and Language
- Speech Sound Grab Bag: Fill a medium sized gift bag or tote bag with small objects/pictures that begin (or end) with the targeted sound. Have your child take out each object and practice saying that word and talk about what he/she found. Your child will love digging into the bag and feeling the objects inside to see what is hidden inside!
For example: /k/ sound objects could include keys, (pretend) cookie, cup, kit-kat bar, rubber duck (quack-quack AND final /k/ in duck), book, ketchup packet, small stuffed animal cat, cork, can of soda or coke, small cake candle, pretend slice of cake, napkin, plastic/toy fork, packet of hot cocoa)
- Flashlight Game: Get out a flashlight and place pictures or objects that target the speech sound and place them inside child’s bedroom or other room, turn off the lights and have the child shine the light around the room to “find” the objects. Your child will love playing with the flashlight and searching for the cards or objects.
- Memory match up: Make small cards (with photos or clipart) with targeted speech sound so that you and your child can play the memory matching game. Place all cards face down and have your child see if they can remember where the cards are and whoever has the most matches wins the game.
- Book Reading: Choose a book from your local library that targets the speech sound, read with your child (or maybe they can read to you!)
- Board Games: Incorporate your child’s favorite board game and upon taking a turn, have your child say a word 2-3 times targeting that speech sound (see if your child’s speech pathologist can give you a practice word list or photocopied pics). Game suggestions: Candyland, Chutes and Ladders, UNO, Guess Who?)
- Sound guessing game: Practice “sound discrimination” at
- home by hiding your mouth with a piece of construction paper. Say a word that begins with the targeted sound (i.e. “seat”) and ask the child, “Did I say the /s/ or the /sh/ sound?” Choose words that rhyme but begin with the targeted speech sounds. (i.e. cake/take)
- Build a “road” for cars: line picture cards for targeted speech sound face down, have your child help you build a “road” and turn over the cards as the car “drives’ along the road, saying the sound as the cards are turned over.
- B-I-N-G-O: Use a bingo board and markers/chips that contain pictures of the targeted speech sound. This is a great way to include multiple family members!
- Coloring: Use coloring sheets that include popular cartoon characters or scenes with targeted speech sounds. Sit with your child and have the child say one of the targeted words before receiving a crayon or marker to color a certain part of the coloring sheet. This way they are coloring as they are practicing the sounds.
- Baking or Crafting: Have your child bake or put together a craft and target that sound during the activity. Examples of targeted words: cookies, cake, rolling pin, pat-pat-pat, push, cookie cutters, shapes, cook, bake, hot, mix, stir, egg, break, roll, pull, glue, stick/sticky, cut, in, out.
By the time a toddler has a vocabulary of at least 30-40 words, they begin to put words together into 2-word phrases (the child must be USING the 30-40 words in spontaneous speech to comment/request/label, not just imitating). The general “rule of thumb” is that at age one, children use only ONE word to communicate, then at age two, they use TWO words, by age three, they are using THREE or more words in sentences (requesting/commenting/asking & answering questions). I find myself using the following strategies right now with my 24-month-old and thought I’d share some ways to help increase the 2-word phrases in your toddler’s vocabulary.
- One simple way is to build phrases using words your child already has in their vocab.: Does your child have some functional words associated with mealtime, bedtime, playtime etc.??? Try adding MORE and PLEASE to those words. For example, “more juice”, “help please”, “out please”. “more crackers”, “up please”.
- Incorporate greetings to build phrases: “Hi daddy”. “bye-bye nana”
- Model phrases throughout your daily routines, commenting on what is happening or what your child is doing, “night-night baby”, “go out”, “want up?”, “purple ball”, the more these phrases are modeled, the greater the chance your child will begin to imitate!
- Incorporate “automatic” phrases as well: For example, “I did it”, “this one”, “that one”, “my turn”, “let’s go”, “no mine”
- If you notice that your child isn’t quite catching on to 2-word phrase imitation, begin by repeating single words in a string, for example, “go-go-go!”, “up-up-up”, “night-night” to see how they respond.
If you have concerns about your child’s development, visit our webpage at https://www.abcpediatrictherapy.com for more information.
Written by: Christina Sanford, MA, CCC-SLPRead More