Have you ever thought about using household items in speech therapy activities at home? Early intervention and preschool speech therapists are often asked by parents about toys, flashcards, or tools to elicit more language at home. Fortunately, it’s not the items that matter! Effective language intervention can happen with any materials that you already have on hand at home.
You don’t need fancy games, tools or flashcards to work on speech and language because it can literally be worked on with ANYTHING during ANY part of the day. You can promote language easily by talking with your child about their day. Ask them one part of their day that was their favorite. When you are doing something around the house, ask them to help take part in that activity and explain to them the items that you are using to help increase their vocabulary. For example, if you are mopping, show them the sequencing steps needed to fill the water and get the mop, as well as how to wring it out before the mop touches the floor. Let them take part in it and do it too.
Besides talking to your child about different things that you are doing around the house, take those simple household items and have FUN using your imagination with them to work on speech and language. Check out these More than a Box: Learning Through Play Parent Handouts for some fun ideas! Let’s look at some simple ways to use 3 household items in speech therapy activities that I guarantee you most likely already have on hand at home:
3 Household Items to Use for Speech Therapy Activities:
- More than a Box
- Play the Mystery Game
Use an empty box as an easy guessing game! Explain to your child that you’re going to play a game called Mystery Box. Tell your child to wait in the other room and pick an item from the kitchen to hide in the box.
Give different kinds of clues when you guess each item. This will let you see which skills your child understands and which ones they need to work on. Once you determine which skills they still need to work on, try practicing more items with that kind of clue.
- Turn the Box into a Car
Use a large box to become a car! Sit in the box and decide what parts of the car you need. Find items around the house that can work as a good pretend car part such as a steering wheel, driver’s license or horn! Talk about the sequence of driving somewhere such as to the park or grocery store and act it out to promote speech skills.
- Turn the Box into an Instrument
An empty box can make a great instrument! Add a wooden spoon and create a drum! Let your little drummer try to copy the way you play. Play fast, slow, loud, and quiet. Label each style of play and then let your child take a turn telling you how to play.
- More than a Cup
- Turn it into a Microphone
Grab an empty cup and make it into an echo microphone. Kids like to hear their voice amplified and using an empty cup is an easy and fun way to play.
- Turn the Cups into a Stacking Tower
Use three or four different sizes of cups to create a cup tower. Talk about the size, color, and shape of them while you are picking out/finding which cups to stack.
Help your child put the cups in size order with the biggest cup on the bottom. Work on the ending of words like –er and –est.
Example: Big, bigger, biggest. Small, smaller, smallest. Tall, taller, tallest.
- More than a Plate
- Hopping Plates
Gather four or five paper plates. Decorate them with shapes. Work on naming the shapes while you draw them. Talk about the number of sides they have. Make each one a different color.
Put the plates on the ground and give your child directions to hop on the plates. Focus on different basic concepts in each direction you give.
All of the ideas above are included in the More than a Box: Learning Through Play Parent Handouts plus many more ideas! The handouts also go into much more detail about HOW you can use these items as well as specific speech and language goals that you can work on with your child. There are 10 handouts total with ideas for using household items in speech therapy activities. In addition, an introduction letter to parents is included. More than a Box: Learning Through Play also has a Spanish Version if you need it for any parents of ESL students.
For other ideas of things you may have on hand in your home for speech therapy activities, you might also want to check out:
10 SLP Ways to Play Potato Heads
What other household items have you used to incorporate speech therapy at home?
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Hi there I love this article and all of the creative ways you have found to use household objects to work on speech with. With COVID-19 making some schools still be virtual I think this is a great article to pass on to parents and teachers because it allows students to continue their progress in speech therapy like you said “any time of the day.” I feel that a lot of parents of younger children are worried about their child’s progress after and during the pandemic so to tell them that they can work on speech from home without having to buy fancy and expensive toys or flashcards I think they will be so relieved. I also love how many skills you have found to work on with one simple object, such as the box, or activity, such as mopping as you said. Overall, like I said this is a great article with so many great ideas that would be helpful before COVID, but especially helpful now during the pandemic.
Abby Drabik says
I love this blog post and all the cute ideas! I am an undergrad volunteer in my school’s Infant and Toddler Language Lab and have helped out with a research project that brings in families of low-income backgrounds and helps teach them how to cultivate healthy early language environments. We give the families board books at the end of each session, but I think giving parents cheap, fun ideas to practice language facilitation at home is wonderful!