Saturday, February 27, 2010

Lakeshore Learning Fishing Game

This game is from Lakeshore learning and is a huge hit in our house! Click on the title and it will take you to the item at Lakeshore's website.

There are alot of fishing games out there that kids love and you can use them as a tool to encourage language. When we play fishing in the bath I have Kayden talk about what color of fish he caught "I caught a yellow fish", what kind of fish he caught "This is a stingray". You can also use it to create categories by categorizing all the fish according to type and then color.


Storytime is a fun weekly event that you can do with your little ones that is free! It's great to expose them to an environment where they have to follow simple directions, rules and listen to someone else other than you. Storytime also exposes them to new language, vocabulary and books. They usually have an expected sequence of events which helps your child work on predicting what will come next. Kayden has been going to storytime since he was about 3 months old. We started at the library storytime called Lapsit and now we do a storytime through the city of chandler events program. He loves going to storytime and gets very excited when I tell him that the next day we are going and I love taking him and exposing him to this fun learning environment.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Police Cloud by Christoph Neimann

The Police Cloud by Christoph Neimann is a super cute book about a cloud that wants to be a "police cloud". The fact that he is a cloud makes it hard for him to stop criminals, this makes the cloud sad so he starts to cry. His tears put a fire out on a building that is on fire so the firechief wants him to be apart of the fire department. I love that it has such a sweet ending and that the little cloud ends up happy with a big fireman hat on.
Kayden really liked this book and asked to read it every night that we had it from the library. We were able to talk about some new vocabulary words like; criminal, robber, and sunbathing. He loves any book that has to do with firemen or policemen because to him they are heros so a book that has both in it is a sure winner in our house!

Burger Boy by Alan Durant

Last week at the library one of the books Kayden picked was Burger Boy by Alan Durant. This book made my little man laugh and laugh. It's probably best for kiddos 2 and 1/2 and up, the littler ones wouldn't understand it and parts of it will still be confusing to a 2 and 1/2 year old.

The story is a little boy that will only eat Burgers and his mom warns him that one day he could turn into a burger. He does and has to escape some different situations along his road to becoming a boy again.

The lesson is that you need to eat a variety of foods because all of one thing isn't enough for little kids. So this book could be good for picky eaters or little ones who are stuck on certain foods, it could help you bridge a conversation on why they need to eat a variety of foods.

It's also good for talking about food groups and different food categories. We used it to talk about fruits and veggies and which ones we like and some that he hasn't tried, etc.

Overall it's a fun book and got my little guys stamp of approval because everytime we read it during the last week he would laugh out loud, so to me that is a good book!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Play "I Spy"

I spy is a fun way to work on describing things without your child even realizing they are working on language at all. Take turns describing things you spy and then guessing, this incorporates both receptive (what they understand) and expressive (what they can say) language.
Fun times to play I spy are on a walk and driving in the car or just sitting in your living room!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Make a craft

Here are some recent crafts we have done together. He LOVES craft projects and gets very excited when we start them! And he loves showing them off to daddy, which results in another moment when he gets to use his language skills!

Making crafts works on following directions, sequencing steps and vocabulary. All things important for language development. And the best part, they just think it's fun, they don't realize you are working on their language development at all. Talk through the craft alot. Talk about what you have to do first, second, third and last. Talk about the supplies you need, label them to give them the words to request for them. Give them directions to follow, simple for younger kiddos and more difficult/multi-step for older kiddos. 1 step directions are good for 1-3 year olds, 3-5 year olds can usually do 2-3 step directions.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Keep it in the middle

If your little one isn't talking much or at all, or if you just want to increase their phrase length you can use this method to encourage language expansion/use/growth. When your eating a meal put everything in the middle of the table. The utensils, plates/bowls, drinks/cups, and all the food. Then everyone has to request what they need. This allows the adults to model the good language use and the little ones can do what they can to request. So if your little one isn't talking at all you can just require them to use a sign or a gesture or some form of communication and then reward them with their desired item. As they get better with what your requiring them to use you can increase your demands on them. Begin with close approximations such as for cup if they say "cu" then reward them with the cup. Slowly require more from them, "cup please", then "Want cup please", then "I want a cup please" and so on. Always reinforce their request with what they said but one step higher. So if they say "cup" you would say "oh you want a cup please" or "you said, cup please" that way they are always hearing the correct word and you are scaffolding them to go one step further than they are currently able to.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Offer Choices!

To get your little one to talk. Offer choices! Don't make all the decisions for them, give them some power! Showing them that communicating gives them power is one of the best motivators for them to TALK! When giving them their food, ask if they want the yellow or blue bowl, the sippy or big boy cup, the strawberries or grapes. Giving them 2 choices and having them verbally request one is a great way to give them "power" without you loosing power, your still choosing their 2 options. And the choice won't take forever:) If you give a 2 or 3 year old 5 choices it's too overwhelming and you'll be waiting a really long time for that answer. So offer 2 choices several times a day. Another positive of giving them choices, they will feel like "winners" during the day so they will be more likely to let you win some battles too, like taking a bath when you need them too, etc.
As their communication skills grow, increase the demands of the choice they make. Now they can't just say "yellow" for the yellow bowl, they have to say "yellow bowl". Once they are good with the 2 word requests, extend it more, "yellow bowl please", then "I want the yellow bowl, please" and so on.

Monday, February 15, 2010


Categories or Classifying are important for language development. A category is a group of words that "fit together". Some examples of categories are-Fruit, Veggies, Drinks, Furniture, Vehicles, Writing utensils, toys, etc. They help to teach a child more about the meaning of words and allow a child to show that they understand words more if they can put them into a category. It gives them a "schema" to put vocabulary in. A way to organize all the vocabulary in their brain, put the words into little compartments to be able to grab out when they need them:) Like if they want to name an item of furniture, they can first think about the furniture they know, like desk, chair, table, etc and then it is easier to be able to grab the word they want and label the item. Categories are a great way to work on vocabulary growth.
This game is a fun one for category work, I got it at Lakeshore Learning Store (I LOVE that store! they have tons of fun language games if you have one near you!). Kayden loves this puzzle/game. We play it by me saying "let's do the vehicles category" and then we find the 3 vehicles and talk about what each one does and why they are all vehicles. And then we go on to the next category, I help as needed if he requests. We started this game when he turned 2, it says 3+ on the box but he was able to do it w/ a little assistance at 2.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Oral Motor Exercises

Playing with bubbles

Some mommies have emailed me asking for ideas to work on oral motor control and strength for their children with decreased tongue, lip, cheek strength and tone and/or coordination.
Some fun ways to work on this with little kiddos are:
-Blow Bubbles!-kiddos love it and it helps them make the "ewww" sound
-Use a straw
-Play with a harmonica
-Blow a kazoo
-lick ice cream cones-works on tongue movement
-put sticky peanut butter (of course if kiddo isn't allergic) on their lips and they have to lick it all off with their tongue
-blow a whistle

Have fun!

Friday, February 5, 2010


Mommies put in the comment section what your child is working on, what their diagnosis is and what you'd like more info on or ways to work on skills! Or let me know if you have a typically developing child and just like to encourage language growth! I've had alot of readers send me emails and such but I'd love for you to start using the comment section!

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Adjectives are something that is often missing from a child's speech or something that a child has trouble understanding how to use. So model adjectives now, when your talking about something use those fun words that make what your saying more interesting!
One way we talk about adjectives is through puzzles, we have one that he has to match the adjective to the noun "shiny fish", "red strawberry". It's by "Infantino" and is called "Matching colors and textures".

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

On a walk...

I'll never forget about a conversation I had with a dear friend of mine. Her daugther was struggling with language development and she asked me for some tips before she took it to the next level. I asked her if she talks alot to her child. She said, no. She just lets her be. She thought that was what was best for her, to develop her own way. I have to say I was shocked. I went on to probe, "for example, when your on a walk do you tell her what you see?", she replied with, "no I just let her look around and see what is outside, I thought that is what I should do?" When I told her without her telling her daughter what she was seeing she'd have no idea what it was she seemed surprised and excited that she could make a little change and probably get a big gain. Now her little girl is 2 and 1/2 and talking just fine, didn't need speech therapy afterall.

Not sure if it's that I had "talking" drilled into me for 6 straight years while I was in college or if it just comes natural to some people and not to others to know that you have to talk to your baby/toddler. You are their model. Without hearing you talk, they have no model of what they should be saying.

So mommies, the most important thing you can do is TALK! Talk all the time. You need to make an effort to talk as much as possible. Talk about what you are doing all day long.

One of my most talkative times with Mr. Kayden is on our daily walks. It always has been. I talk to him the entire walk, when he was tiny I would describe what I saw "I see a green tree with brown bark. Ohh, a pretty, blue bird just flew by." I would tell him what I was seeing as I saw it. And as soon as he could talk he started adding to the narration and talks our entire walk with me. I remember one day a man was a few feet in front of us on our walk and Kayden was about 15 months old and after walking in front of us for about 15 minutes he turned around and said "wow, he talks your ear off doesn't he!" at that point I knew what I was doing was making a difference. For a 15 month old to be told they are talking someone's ear off is success to me:) Alot of 15 month olds have very few words and my little man had so many he could fill up an entire hour long walk with talking!

So mommies, take those moments to talk. Teach your baby about the world, without you telling them that tall thing with green on it is a tree they will have no idea what to call it. And they need to hear it over and over before it becomes apart of their vocabulary. So when your on a walk, talk.