January 2022

Fun Winter ideas for speech and Language! Try some of these fun winter themed activities with your kids. They will be so fun your children won’t even realize they’re building their speech and language skills.

Build a Snowman: You can help your child work on language concepts while building a snowman this winter. Talk about the size concepts big, medium, and small when making the 3 snowballs. If your child already knows these concepts see if he/she can use comparatives and superlatives (i.e., “big, bigger, biggest” or “tall, taller, tallest”) when talking about the snowballs. Talk about the location concepts top, middle, and bottom when putting them together. While dressing the snow man see if your child can follow 1, 2 or even 3 step directions using those concepts (i.e., put the hat on the top and then put the buttons in the middle). You can also talk about the concepts “tall” and “short” and see if the snowman is taller or shorter then you and your child. If you are really into this activity, you can build more than one snow man and work on using attributes to have your child compare how the two snowmen are the same or different. Tip: If it is too cold or there is not enough snow you can do this activity indoors with paper as an art project. Cut out different size circles and make the snowman with paper and glue and talk about all the same concepts. OR, add a tasty twist by making the snowman out of marshmallows. Use candy for the eyes, nose, mouth and buttons, a cracker or gum drop for the top hat and pretzels for the arms.  A toothpick will help to hold the snowman’s body together. Have fun!

  • Make an Ice Sun Catcher: Fill a flat container with water. Put items in pinecones, acorns, or other lightweight natural items, but sparkles, food coloring, googly eyes and other things are a lot of fun too and are great for working on vocabulary!)  as well as a thin wire for hanging. While making the design you can work on vocabulary words, colors, size concepts, and the concepts sink/float, wet/dry, heavy/light, and empty/full. See if your child can use attributes to describe the items you are putting in the water. Have your child answer “wh” questions about the items. Once you are finished making your design, leave it outside in freezing temperatures. Talk about the cold and have your child predict what will happen if you leave it outside. Check back on your creation later and after it is frozen, remove the design from its container and hang it from a tree to enjoy while the cold lasts. As it melts talk about what is happening and why.

What types of feelings does the upcoming holiday break invoke in you? Are you excited to have some time off of work to spend with your family? Are you feeling guilty that you are not looking forward to the break because your kids will be at home leaving you to entertain them? For many people, it is a mix of both of those feelings. We are here to tell you that you are not alone in feeling those negative feelings and it is okay that you feel that way. The staff at Kids Place Therapy Services wants to help you get prepared for that holiday break and give you some tips on how to make it a more pleasurable experience. 

The easiest way to make the holiday break a little more joyful for parents is to stick to a scheduled routine. Create a plan that your child/children can stick to throughout the day. This creates predictability for everyone while also giving them a little more independence. This can also be your opportunity to schedule some screen time, instead of having the all-day requests. You could also align your child’s schedule to be somewhat similar to their weekly school schedule making sure to include some time for reading, math, science, art, music, and PE. 

If you need help coming up with a schedule or activities to fill your child’s time, please feel free to reach out. 

November 2021

5 ways cooking can be a speech and language enriching activity

Thanksgiving is coming up!  What a great time to get your child involved in all the cooking and prep work for that big holiday meal.  Cooking together is such a wonderful bonding experience for both the child and parent.

So you may be asking, so how does cooking help speech and language skills?  Here are 5 ways that cooking together can be a speech and language enriching activity.

  1. Builds vocabulary – targets items found in the kitchen
  2. Demonstrates action words – focus on simple action words such as open, cut, bake, stir, eat, cook, etc.
  3. Teaches your child to take turns – alternate taking turns stirring, pouring, cutting, etc.
  4. Helps your child follow one, two, and even three step directions – example open, pour stir.
  5. Increases conversation skills – talk about how the dish tastes, smells, looks, etc.

Do you want some easy-to-follow recipes you can make with your child? Try these out for a yummy and educational treat

www.beautythroughimperfection.com/cranberry-crescent-rolls/

https://www.tastesoflizzyt.com/5-ingredient-corn-casserole/

www.shugarysweets.com/turkey-rice-krispie-treats/

Identifying Muscle Weakness in Children
1. Baby turns head primarily to one side or head is tilting to one side.
2. Baby is not holding their head up by 4 months.
3. Baby declines to put weight through their legs by 6 months.
4. Baby is not sitting independently by 8 months.
5. Baby is not crawling by 12 months.
6. Baby is not walking by 18 months.
7. Child only walks on tiptoes for more than 6 months.
8. Child is w-sitting (sitting with legs turned out to the side forming a w)
9. Poor posture or slouched posture when sitting.
10. Unable to keep pace with same-age peers.
11. Overly clumsy child or trips often when walking.
Identifying Fine Motor Weakness in Children
1. Baby does not bring objects to mouth by 4 months.
2. Baby does not move objects from one hand to the other by 6 months.
3. Baby does not pick up small objects with three fingers by 9 months.
4. Baby does not bang items together by 12 months.
5. Baby does not put items in cup by 12 months.
6. Child does not stack more than 4 blocks by 2 years of age.
7. Child is not able to copy a circle by 3 years of age.
8. Child is not able to draw a person by 4 years of age.
9. Unable to cut out simple shapes by 6 years of age.
10. Unable to form most letters and numbers correctly by 7 years of age.
11. Unable to write legibly for the entirety of a story by 8 years of age.
Identifying Oral Muscle Weakness in Children
1. Preference for soft foods, refusal to eat chewy/ crunchy textures.
2. Drooling past the age of 18 months.
3. Choosing gestures over speech past the age of 18 months.
4. Difficulty or refusal to use a straw cup.
5. Not being able to understand at least 50% of a child’s speech at 2 years of age.
6. Not being able to understand at least 75% of a child’s speech at 3 years of age.
7. Slurred speech or deficits in articulation.
While this is a general overview of muscle weakness in children, if you think that your child has
muscle weakness you can contact Kids Place Therapy Services to request a free screening.
After the initial screening, the therapist can guide you through the next steps if therapy is
recommended for your child.
Reference
CDC. Milestone Moments. Retrieved from
https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/pdf/parents_pdfs/milestonemomentseng508.pdf

The weather is getting cooler and the leaves are beginning to change.  What I enjoy most about fall are how many natural opportunities it provides to introduce speech and language!  If it’s too cold or wet to go outside and explore, you can bring the nature inside as well.  Here are my top fall-themed activities for kids.

  1.  Pinecone hunt! Grab a bucket or a bag and head out to your backyard or to a local nature preserve and search for pinecones.  Here are some ideas of how to play with pinecones, and how to incorporate speech and language.
  • Create a collage or display with the pinecones or create a “pinecone museum”. Talk about the different sizes, colors, of textures.  Ask questions about the pinecone, like where do you think this pinecone came from? Or what’s your favorite pinecone?
  • Painting with pinecones.  Who needs paintbrushes when you have pinecones?  They create such a cool texture when you roll them onto paper.  Adding vocabulary/words into this activity could include the words: bumpy, more, paint, mix, dot dot dot, up/down, circle, tree, etc…
  1. Raking leaves!  A great way to incorporate gross motor and language in a fun way.  The reward of jumping into the big pile of leaves is always such a small yet memorable experience that children will always remember.  Here are some fun ways to play and incorporate speech and language:
  • Bury each other or a stuffed animal, toy, etc… once object is hidden ask, Where did ______ go? or We need to dig dig dig! 
  • Add language and new vocabulary as you’re making a pile of leaves with your child including: scoop, rake, put in, big, more, dig, etc…
  1. Nature collage.  This is another simple and fun way to talk about nature and introduce speech and language.  I like to use contact paper to stick all your findings on, and hang in the window.
  • Talk about where you found what you collected.  For example: We found this seed in the big tree…, the pinecone fell out of the tree…, the leaf was way up high… 
  • Take turns picking out your favorite item and stick it on.
  • Put items in a bag and try to guess what it is by feeling the texture.

Most of all make it fun and enjoy the time spent together!!