Kid-Approved Speech Games & Activities

by Keri Vandongen R.SLP, S-LP(c), photo: 

mom and son talk and play face to face“Wow, Neel! You’re a superstar for how fast you learned this new sound skill. Quick, let’s race to the sticker box!”

Neel was a “dream student” to practice with during our therapy sessions. He enjoyed taking speech turns no matter what activity we did. He attended well, watched my mouth movements, and tried his best. While Neel and I were recovering from our intensive, action-filled session, his mom, Anya, shocked me by saying, “Neel loves coming to see you and to learn his speech words, but he doesn’t practice with any of us at home.”

I thought to myself, “What? Why wouldn’t Neel – who is so easygoing and eager to please others – not like practising speech with his parents and babysitter?”

It’s because he’s used to them, of course. (The parents and babysitter!) So, I asked Anya to use these 7 Kid Approved Speech Games & Activities at home with Neel while he says his speech targets:

1. Find cards or pictures that are placed inside coloured envelopes or mitts/gloves that are hidden in an area that Neel can move around.

2. Combine a fun sport game that Neel loves with speech practice, such as a ball or beanbag toss/shoot/roll, etc.

3. Engage in sensory play using water, shaving cream, play dough, slime, bubbles or whatever material Neel loves to play in.

4. Play a board game with Neel that involves the excitement of pulling a stick to spin toy tops, similar to “Spin to Win” or “Beyblades.”

5. Have Neel “feed” puppets, toys, boxes or containers with a slot or opening. Add chomping, munching and lip smacking sound effects while Neel “feeds” something.

6. Give Neel a container filled with rice, dried beans, seeds, confetti, etc. to dig through and find small objects, cards or laminated/sturdy pictures.

7. Go on a scavenger hunt with Neel that ends with the reward of Neel getting to find something inside an appealing “treasure box.”

Anya was as excited as Neel was to come to our next session. She exclaimed, “Neel was laughing and having so much fun that he forgot he didn’t like practicing his speech at home. He liked getting lots of verbal praise while he practised to help him feel even more successful.”

Neel’s favourite part was getting to choose what he and his practice partner got to do together. He also liked having choices for the practice place, time and including others. Neel even choose a “word of the week” that he was willing to practice and work on a few times each day.

I love it when we can beat the boring blahs!

A child’s most supportive resource for improving and carrying over their speech skills are their parents and caregivers. This means you!

Here’s your speech take-away…incorporate something special and fun to do or use so that speech practice becomes quality time spent together that’s enjoyable for both of you.

Collaborating Together for Kids’ Speech-Language Communication Success,
“Speech” Keri,