Summer is here and that means it is time for water play!!
I love water as therapy tool because of the variety of activities you can do with it. Variety of activities = variety of vocabulary!
Let's refresh. What do I mean when I say "Target Words". Children with language delay need a lot of repetition and examples of new vocabulary words before they can be expected to understand them in a variety of settings or use them on their own. Choosing target words for different daily routines and activities can help you get those repetitions.
For example, you and your child are playing with a variety of toys In the water bucket. Your child pushes a boat across the water then gets a shovel and pours water over the cow, etc. You might be modeling something like "Woa that boat went fast! Your shovel is yellow. Oh no you poured it on your cow. Now your cow is all wet". Now, there is nothing wrong with that! Narrating what your child Is doing is great to help with their understanding of language. However, that is a LOT of different concepts you just threw at your child. Your child will have much more success learning and using new vocabulary if you focus on 3-4 target words per activity. For example, you could choose the target words : pour, boat, big, small. Then, as your child is playing you could be modeling things like: "Push BIG BOAT! Can you POUR it on the BIG BOAT? I see the SMALL BOAT!, etc". We aim to repeat our target words at least 5 times during an activity while being sure that the child's focus is on the items we are actually referring to.
Target words are a useful strategy when used in combination with other strategies such as using slow, exaggerated speech, getting on the child's level, and commenting on what the child is currently focused on.
With that being said, you will find that the activities below are repetitive and predictable. They are specifically designed for the early intervention population to help increase receptive and expressive vocabulary. You will notice that the structure of the activity remains the same while only one thing changes to keep it interesting.
One final note, don't be afraid to get messy but do be sure to keep control of the activity. Let your child explore and play in the water. Follow their lead. It is always suggested to do water play outside because there WILL be splashing! But don't worry if your child starts to get muddy or dirty from being wet in the grass. This is a sensory experience that is great for your child - you can always take a bath later! DO keep control. Have you ever tried to get your child's attention when you're in a toy room filled with toys scattered all over the floor. The second you try to get them to help you build a tower out of blocks, or put the play food on your plate, they are onto the next thing. Giving your child full control over all the toys or having too much visual clutter can decrease their attention on you which will make it harder for them to learn the new vocabulary you are trying to teach. I will include a note of how to keep control and attention for each activity below.
Comments will be approved before showing up.
Get access to FREEBIES for speech & language therapy!
Click HERE to grab your downloads 🙌🏼