How Can I Practice Speech and Language Skills With My Child at Home?

Kaitlyn Steele, MS, CCC-SLP, with Kaufman Children's Center offers advice for families.

With the hustle and bustle of the holidays behind us and a new year of possibilities ahead, January is a great time to focus on your child’s speech and language practice at home. Here are some fun and simple activities to try this winter to keep your child’s skills in top form.

Sing a song

Whether it’s working on articulation goals, or just finding one target word that your child can practice, using songs to foster speech skills is fun and engaging. It might even give your child the opportunity to feel more confident with their speech skills if you’re alongside them singing the same tune. Sing as a family, build it into a daily routine, or perform it in your own living room as a family choir concert.

Bake up some fun

Pull up a chair for your little one and teach some new vocabulary in a fun, hands-on way. Think of common nouns such as “spatula,” “timer,” “oven,” and “frosting” or action words like “mix,” “pour,” “roll,” and “bake.” Recipes work well for practicing sequencing and memory recall. Model as you go. Use words such as “first,” “then,” and “last” and discuss the steps of how to bake cookies. After you’re done, help your child to recall what you did and tell a brief narration of the activity. This can be geared to any level by practicing just one word at a time or full sentences.

Winter mystery box

Wrap a box in leftover wrapping paper and leaving a small opening big enough for your child to reach into the box. Gather items from around the house that highlight winter vocabulary, including winter clothing and food items (gloves, hat, scarf, marshmallow, cookie). Put the items in your mystery box and as your child takes out an item, discuss what it is, what it’s used for and where you find it. Work on different phrases such as, I found a _____ (for labeling); what’s in the box? (for questions); or take out _____ (for simple requests).

Crafts, games and books

Bargain hunt or borrow a fun game, such as Don’t Break the Ice, and as you take turns, practice your child’s speech homework together. Check the library for winter books that teach seasonal vocabulary and are fun to read. Cut out snowflakes with colorful paper and write your child’s speech words on them as your child says them, or fill a bowl with “snow” (cotton balls) and hide the words on pieces of paper to dig out.

These activities should help you feel equipped on that unexpected snow day or that frigid weekend spent indoors.

Brought to you by Kaufman Children’s Center. Visit for more information on their speech, language, sensory motor and social connections services.


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