Small TALK Speech Therapy - bored

Wet Weather Activities

With the wind and chill of winter officially upon us, and the school holidays almost completely rained out, you may be finding yourself trapped in your house with a stir-crazy kid (or three!) and wondering how you’re going to keep them entertained…

Don’t panic! Your house is full of things that can be used to boost your child’s language skills and keep them busy. I’ve put together a couple of ideas of games and activities to get you started.

  1. Simon Says…

This is a classic game that can be adjusted to suit the language skills of many children. Best of all, it doesn’t involve expensive toys or complicated setup!

Small TALK Speech Therapy - clap hands

For younger children who are learning to combine words, use key phrases accompanied by actions, e.g. “wave hands” and give them a big wave. In this way you can teach them names of body parts and actions, while also growing their imitation skills.

For older children, increase the difficulty of this task by adding new concepts like “before” or “first… then” and adding more steps, for example “Simon says ‘first wiggle your nose, then lay on your tummy’”. Remember to make it silly and exciting!

Small TALK Speech Therapy - blindfold

You can increase the difficulty further by blindfolding your child and creating an obstacle course with soft objects for them to navigate. Guide them through the course with “Simon says”, being sure to add direction concepts (e.g. left/right/forward/back), advanced body parts (e.g. elbows/ankles/eyebrows) and counting (e.g. ‘three steps’). For school aged kids this is a great way for them to practice their listening skills in the holiday break.

  1. Masking Tape Madness

Masking tape is inexpensive and can be used for so many crafts and activities.

For your younger children, tape big shapes on the ground and cut out matching paper shapes for a giant puzzle. For older ones, practice naming the shapes as you jump from one to the other.

Small TALK Speech Therapy - masking tape

Masking tape can also be used to make roads for your car-crazy toddler. As you drive around together, you can practice making sounds and words like “beep”, “bang” and “zoom”.

For older children, create masking tape squares on the floor and categorise items from around the house into “things we use for eating”, “things that are soft”, “things that are very small”, etc.

To make things trickier, make a ‘story circle’ and sit around it together. Pass a ball from player to player, taking turns to add a sentence to the story.

  1. Books galore!

Reading is such an essential aspect of your child’s communication and literacy journey. It can also be really fun!

There are lots of beautifully illustrated books for little ones, with simple sentences that repeat key words and ideas. Build a blanket fort and have a special story-time with your toddler, using lots of exciting facial expressions, sound effects and hand gestures as you work through a picture book together. Get them involved by letting them point to interesting pictures and label things they recognise.

Small TALK Speech Therapy - reading

For older children there are stories filled with rhymes, exciting vocabulary and describing words. Big kids love forts too, so invite them in for story-time and ask them questions as you read together, like “where is his hat?” or “what will happen next?” Quick tip: questions starting with “why” and “how” are a bit harder, so try some “what” questions first.

For a list of great books for kids 0-8 years, check out Speech Pathology Australia’s Book Of The Year shortlist here: http://www.booksandpublishing.com.au/articles/2016/06/29/58982/speech-pathology-australia-book-awards-2016-shortlists-announced/

Have these ideas been helpful for you? We’d love you to share your experiences and ideas with the Small Talk community! Follow the links below to continue the discussion, or head over to our Facebook page to give us your feedback.

Courtney Salm