Fall! My favorite season! Who else? What comes to mind when you think fall?
Yes! Pumpkins. Leaves. Halloween. Cooler weather. Apple Cider. Love it!
Let’s talk about some language activities for at home with the little ones! Let’s throw in some thoughts about structured activities to teach independence as well.
I bought these leaves at Hobby Lobby a couple years ago using my 40% off coupon from Coupon Sherpa of course. I cut all of the leaves off and voila!… fake leaves to throw up in the air, to catch, to pile, to put in, to take out, to rake. Back in the day when I worked within a clinic the leaves were put in a plastic swimming pool at the bottom of the kiddie slide. Fun! And the rake? Glad you asked! I purchased this within the garden section of the local Ace Hardware. My dad cut off half of the handle and sanded the end down to make the rake user friendly for the little ones.
If your child enjoys novelty, running, jumping in the leaves, throwing objects then this may be a winner for you at home. It is a great way to build in some action words with movement to encouarage language. Did you know that within the first 100 words (here is a great article from Teach Me To Talk and another handout regarding early language development) a typical child acquires, several of the vocabulary words include actions (ie. eat, sleep, run, jump, throw)? “Throw the leaves up”. “Put leaves in” a bucket. “Run” through the leaves. “Hide” the pumpkins or common objects in the leaves. What other vocabulary can we think about with leaves?
”Tis the season for pumpkin patches, craft shows and such which is where I purchased these cuties. Have your child follow directions such as put the pumpkin “on the couch” or “behind the chair”. It’s a fun way to work on location phrases. And the bigger pumpkin…Well, that is from my parents’ yard. Several years ago my dad put a couple of pumpkins by the road at the end of fall season (you can do this in a small town of 600 peeps). The next year they had a pumpkin patch! And of course, I get to pick out my own pumpkin yearly now. Hence the larger pumpkin. I digress! According to the Rossetti Infant Toddler Language Scale understanding size concepts (big, little) develops between 24-27 months. Think about this when you see the pumpkins at the grocery store or your local pumpkin patch.
If you have been following me you will remember that physical prompts are easier to fade that verbal prompts. That being said, if your child does not understand “Put on the couch” repeat the command one time, after pausing of course. (Here is why… A world that keeps talking 1, A world that keeps talking 2 and Prompts and Toy Selection ) Then, physically help the child to place the pumpkin. Reinforce (ie social praise, jumping or something motivating to your child) after placing the pumpkin and do it again! Initially I would keep the command the same until the child learns the expectation. Then, try “Put the pumpkin on the couch”. If you want to get fancy then think about 2-step related commands, such as, “Get the pumpkin and put it on the couch.”
What about a sensory bin with hidden ghosts, pumpkins, witches, etc? Great way to work on sorting! Consider having the child sort when you give the command “Put with same” or teaching the child to sort given physical prompts. And what do we do with the physical prompts? We fade them! Teach the child to sort without talking. Yes. Without talking. It’s a great way to structure a task so kids can start to think about sorting independently which builds attention which we can then use for speech and language tasks.
I work at a clinic three hours a week and with one older child we are currently structuring three Occupational Therapy tasks back to back. Verbal cues are minimal to nonexistent while we are teaching him to complete the tasks independently. We are structuring the task visually (tabs, pictures, etc) so he can be successful on his own. Why? Wouldn’t it be great for an older child to come home and sequence after school tasks such as hanging up their coat, doing homework, and completing chores such as setting the table? Without you having to prompt?
Think about the expectations within a given task. Do you want the child to be able to “match” on command which could mean object to object, object to picture, same objects that differ in color only or… do you want the child to sort independently to build attention to task and task completion? I wish I could attend this structured teaching class but eek, it is this Friday! Patti is phenomenal. Highly recommend!
Well, I think that is it for this post. It is causing me think about making pumpkin sugar cookies, frosting, sprinkles, etc. What another great language opportunity in the kitchen with your kids! I have used my Aunt’s homemade sugar cookie and frosting recipes for years now. Let me know if you need a good recipe!
Make it a great week! Thank you for reading my post. If you would like to receive them via email…