How Can You Make Speech Practice FUN at home?

We love to make a road with articulation cards and race cars and trucks down it. It provides lots and lots of repetition and is always a big hit with little ones who love playing with cars!

So, you have a child in speech therapy.  I’m sure your therapist has recommended frequent practice at home.  We know that the more children practice at home, the more rapidly they tend to progress.  In fact, leading speech-language pathologists will recommend practice up to 15 times per day, for 5-15 minutes each!  Wow!  That’s a lot for busy moms and dads.  But you want to see results, right?  What kind of articulation homework are you often given for practice at home?  Worksheets with pictures of words with their target sounds?  Coloring sheets?  Does your child love them?  Probably not.  We want your child to ENJOY practice at home, and here are some ideas to help you make practice fun so that your child makes maximum progress.

What should you do with all those worksheets?  Think about what your child loves.  Does he enjoy doing things with his hands?  Have him cut out pictures and paste them on a piece of paper.  If he enjoys cars and racing, cut the pictures into strips and make a road.  Tape them to the floor.  Then join him on the floor and race those cars and trucks down the road while saying sounds.   Or, try cutting out the pictures and hiding them around the house.  When your child finds them all sit down and practice, practice, practice as you unfold them.  The more repetitions, the better.  Have your child hide the pictures from you and then you find them.  You will find your child much more willing to practice when the practice is fun and entertaining.

If you have an older child who likes to write, try having him use all the target words in a story.  The added bonus of this activity is that he can read his story, not just to mom and dad, but to siblings and grandparents and practice sounds each time he reads it.  If your child is creative, help her come up with tongue twisters with her practice words and sounds.  Try to see who can say them the fastest.  Does he like sports?  Video games?  Work those sounds in between games.  Sit down with your child and have him practice sounds between games or between one-on-one basketball games outside.

Is your child highly motivated by food?  Try using small boxes of favorite cereals or treats, and have him cover the pictures with the treats.  When the page is full, gobble them up!

We have found that for young children, bath time is a great time to practice speech and language.  What better time to practice talking than you have your child at eye level when she can’t run off?  Most children love bath time, so keep it fun and work those sounds and practice words into your daily bath routine.  Before or after meal time is also a good time to practice, when your little one is sitting still in his high chair and at your eye level.  Keep practice fun at home and your child will master those articulation goals before you know it!