13 MOST EFFECTIVE SPEECH THERAPY ACTIVITIES FOR TODDLERS
My friend Annie loves speaking to her baby. She talked to him whenever he was awake from the time he was born. Little Ryan started using sentences by the time he was 14 months old.
Every baby may not speak at the same pace; every child is different. But there are speech therapy activities for toddlers that you can do to help your child learn to talk.
The Best 13 Speech Therapy Activities For Toddlers
Use simple sounds
Use simple sounds like “da” and “ma” or “ba” and “aa” or “ooh” to babies even when they are newborn. These vowels and consonants have a great response from children. These simple speech therapy activities help your child to talk. As they grow, they listen and try to imitate you.
Speak slowly so baby can understand
Try to use simple words and friendly tones. Your toddler can understand what you are saying if you talk to her face to face. Make eye contact and speak slowly and patiently. If the child repeats the words incorrectly just gently repeat the words in the correct manner, so she understands the difference.
TV does NOT help to get children to talk
Don’t turn on the TV as soon as you get home or have it on constantly when your toddler is in the room. Contrary to what you may think the TV is not considered part of speech therapy activities. Contact with people is crucial in the language development process.
Play with your child
Playing is a good way to communicate with your child and also build motor skills and many other benefits. Allow your toddler to tell you what to do. Stay in the background and do only what you are asked to do. Playing with your child builds confidence without pressurizing your child to talk. Playing is a fun part of your speech therapy activities!
Tell your baby what you are doing
When you are feeding, bathing or changing your child, keep talking about what you are doing. If you are going out, talk about where you are going with him/her in simple language. You will be amazed at the amount of things that tiny brain can store and bring out at the most appropriate times!
Reading a book with lots of colorful pictures and words is one of the best speech therapy activities there is. Your child will love to look at a book curled up on your lap. Reading gets associated with security and love. This activity can lead your child to a life-long love of books.
Introduce colors and shapes
Show your child colors on colorful building blocks and other items and gently point out the colors and shapes and say out the name of the shape and color as you play with her. Your child learns to distinguish both colors and shapes naturally and at the same time.
Use lots of hand movements like clapping, peek-a-boo, itsy bitsy spider (fingers crawling up his arm), waving when you leave and other gestures along with the appropriate words. All these hands gestures help the child to associate a word with a meaning and build their vocabulary.
Singing and rhyming
Sing children’s songs and nursery rhyme with your child. It is a vital part of your speech therapy activities. They encourage speech because of the presence of rhythm and rhyming words. It brings your child closer to you; you are both having fun and learning too!
Introduce new words
Add to words your child already says like “doll,” if he/she says doll you say “big doll,” or “pink doll.” Your baby learns other new words and is learning to associate words with each other. Point to you and say “mommy/daddy” and point to him and say his/her name.
Teach them to ask for things
When giving your child something to eat, name it, say “how about an apple? We have red apples. Does baby want an apple or a banana?” Whether it is a shirt or dress in the morning or the choice between eggs or pancakes; children learn to ask for things and make decisions. This activity also can also help in your baby neuro development.
When your child says something, encourage him by making eye contact. Correct him only by repeating what he/she is saying with the correct words, so the child learns the correct way to say words.
Teach "thank you" and "please" early
Children learn from parents to be polite. Use the words please and thank you when you speak to him/her and while speaking to other family members. Your child will automatically pick up these words too. Get family members to help by cooperating. This activity will also help to groom your child to be a well-mannered adult in future.
Best Toys To Help Your Child’s Speech Development
Nothing work better than using a toy to help with your child speech development. If you ask any Speech-Language Pathologist, they would recommend that the best method is to play with your child and when come to play, toys going to be a helpful tool to help and train up your baby speech and language skills.
While there is ample of toys but not all toys are suitable. You might think that those shiny and colorful Fisher-Price piano that play out ABC music when your toddler pressed the keyboard is perfect but they are not. Electrical toys tend to limit children imagination as the child does not need to do anything while the toys were entertaining them.
The best type of toys to stimulate children speech and language development are those that let your child move around and play with it manually. So, the next trip to Toys-R-Us, look for these main points when you buy toys for speech therapy activities for toddlers:
- High-quality and toys that can take a beating.
- Toys that your child likes - cars, animals, dolls, painting and etc.
- Toys that build imagination (i.e, stacking wooden block toy)
- Try not to get battery-operated toys.
- Toys that encourage movement activity (i.e, a ball)
Ideal Toys For Toddlers
These are the best type of toys recommended by a Speech-Language Pathologist while you are doing speech therapy activities for toddlers:
Toddlers love to stack blocks. If you get colorful ones with letters on them you can gradually talk about the red block or the one with the letter A. You can teach words like “tall” and “up” and “on.” My friend’s daughter is just one, and she can already find the “red” block!. The Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden ABC/123 Blocks Set is the perfect toy for this.
Colorful Nesting Cups
Your child will love to stack them one over the other endlessly! They can play in the sand or in water with the cups. My brother’s son loves the Playgo My First Stacking Cups and likes to build up a stack of cups taller than he is and knock them down! These nesting cups are a great toy to teach colors, sizes, counting and shapes.
Balls, rings, cars they can push, drums are all activity toys. They encourage your child to do things and say them out loud. For example, as you bounce on a ball, say "bounce". Your baby will try to pick up that word and eventually say, “bounce” when she throws the ball.
My friend, Robert's son, is ten months, and he recognizes a fire truck when they are on the road because he plays with one at home! You can also teach colors, directions, fast and slow with any wheeled toy.
All these activity toys are designed to get your child moving, and when they move, they will get excited and start to make a lot of sounds. This will be very helpful with their speech and language development. Here are a few activity toys that are suitable:
Thomas The Train
Green Toys Vehicles
Other types of vehicle like the school bus, tractor, truck and much more available at Amazon for you to choose.
These blocks are very colorful and have many uses. You and your child can spend endless time building things and tearing them down and start all over again. The child’s imagination is very stimulated here with your help. Creativity is at its peak when kids get the hang of building things with these interlocking blocks.
Children love playing with food. They love to pretend to cook. I can teach my son about breakfast and dinner foods and vegetables and eggs! She likes to crack “eggs,” mix it, and serve me yummy scrambled eggs! Now he loves to help me in the kitchen! I am learning patience too! One of my friend, Lynn, bought a beautiful kitchen set for her daughter, and it’s absolutely gorgeous!
Role-play like storekeeper is also a good alternative. I bought a grocery store toy set for my daughter, and now she knows what I mean when I say tomato, milk, carrot and other grocery stuff.
Playing in the sand is an excellent activity for children. You just need shovels and buckets, and you are good to go! Motor skills and language can improve with this activity. You can add words like “pour,” “dig,” and “sand” to your child’s vocabulary and much more.
Kids develop immunity as an added bonus by playing outside and in the sand! No beaches near you? No problem. Indoor sand is getting famous nowadays. You can let you child try kinetic sand, and it’s equally fun too!
Sand Play Set
Get one of these and open up a whole new world to your child. Look at small insects, plants, and other objects through the magnifying glass. It will make your child more aware of the world around him/her. Your child also learns to be gentle and respect nature and who knows; perhaps he is the next Albert Einstein in the future.
Barns, Houses, and Farms
Buy or even make houses, barns, and a few animals for a farm and kids will play for hours. You can add words like “cow,” “horse,” and “rooster” to your child’s vocabulary and much more. Also, you and your child can decide which ones belong at home and which ones on the farm or in a barn. This is one of the greatest speech therapy activities you can do with your child and not forget to mention you can sing Old MacDonald song with your kid too!
The Barn Set
The Farm Set
Stickers are a great way to motivate and teach young children. My friend Marie used stickers to get her son to potty train. She rewarded him with stickers whenever he used the potty! You can also use them to make up stories and teach new words to a toddler.
Your toddler will love this activity! It’s sheer magic when a bubble appears! You can practice sound differences in “P” and “B” in words like “bubble” and “pops!” Children just have to make words to express their joy when a bubble appears!
Get a Magazine
Magazines like National Geographic kids and other children’s magazines have so many activities, pictures, and information and are ideal for speech therapy activities. Your child will look forward to sitting down with you and looking through the magazine. Both you and your child can name the pictures and learn new words. Here is a few famous National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book that you can consider to buy.
Don’t Worry About Gender
When buying new toys, should you purchase a doll for a boy, a car for a girl? The National Association For The Education Of Young Children (NAEYC) says that boys and girls need to play with all kinds of toys to develop all their sensory and motor skills.
While you may think that toys can have gender specific but do you know that even girls will benefit from social interactions and problem-solving activities from playing with cars? Boys also need the opportunity to play with kitchen sets and dolls as much as girls to help develop self-confidently.
So, the next trip at Toy-R-Us, do not limit the type of toys your child is picking up so long you make sure it’s suitable for their age. Just let them play with it and let their imagination run wild as toys from both gender-specific toys can help with speech therapy activities regardless.
Sometimes teaching your baby to speak can be a tricky business. As all children start to pick up speech skills at a different time, so no specific milestone can be applied to any children. Thing can even be more complicated if a child is experiencing a Global Development Delay (GDD).
If the thought ever crosses your mind whether you are asking if your child needshelp with a speech therapy, always seek a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) to get some tests done and to determine is further help is needed. It's better to be safe than to be sorry.
As children reach a certain milestone on slightly different time but if your child off from the suppose milestone by a great deal (6months and above) then a visit to SLP is the most recommended course. To learn more about a baby milestone, read this post for more details.
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