Ok. Superheroes are hot right now. Several superhero movies are out in theaters. Kids are buying up superhero toys and superhero dress-up. Many children are having superhero birthday parties. Boys have always loved them. Now even girls are getting in on the fun! Our box of superheroes is one of the most requested toys being used in our clinic lately, and here is how YOU can use the superhero toys from your home to develop your child’s specific speech and language skills! These are general tips. A speech-language pathologist can help guide you in how to use these toys to help your child meet their individual goals. The most important thing to remember is to have fun with this activity and talk slowly and simply about your superheroes as you play together.
Put your superhero toys in a clear bag or box out of their reach. Our box contains a variety of superheroes as well as different forms of transportation such as Spiderman who fits in his airplane, Batman and batmobile, Ironman and his motorcycle. Sit down with the box and your child. Model signing and asking your child to say or sign open. Use hand over hand assistance to teach this sign to your child if he or she is not independent with it yet. Then, open the box and give them one toy and close it. Model signing and asking your child to say or sign more. If your child is communicating with sign language, remember to always say the word as you are signing it. Repeat until the child has all the desired toys out of the box then have fun playing! If your child is learning to imitate sounds, emphasize these sounds during play: vroom, beep, pow, wow, weee, up, bye, ouch.
Answering who/where questions such as Where is Batman? Who is this? Where is Ironman? If your child doesn’t answer, model the correct answer for them. Put the superheroes on top of the box, in the box, under the table, on the floor, etc to introduce spatial concepts such as in, out, on, off, under, beside, etc.
Superheroes are full of action and this is the perfect activity to teach your child action words such as riding, flying, racing, crashing, fighting, driving, falling. The same action words could be used to teach past tense verbs. Simply ask your child using the past tense form, “What happened? He fell! What did they do? They raced!”
3. If your child is working on articulation/speech sounds:
If your child is learning to produce bilabial sounds /p, b, m/ model and emphasize these words during play: Batman, Robin, Lightning McQueen, Mater, Buzz Lightyear, mask, cape, open, more.
If your child is learning to say three syllable/multisyllabic words target the following during play: Batmobile, Spiderman, Motorcycle, Ironman, Superman, Buzz Lightyear.
Is your child learning to make final consonant sounds? Target these words during play: help, ride, shoot, man, run, hide, out, in, cape.