As the years pass by, it is no secret that children grow at a rapid pace. The physical aspect is apparent, but it is also a time when developmental growth is evident. Between the ages of 3-5, up to 2,500 words can already be collected into the vocabulary.
It is an amazing and curious period for both the child and the parents. With the help of speech therapy exercises that can be practiced at home, there are plenty of ways for you to ensure that you are providing your child with the best resources available for learning and expanding that knowledge.
What is Articulation?
When learning how to pronounce new words, it is common that your toddler will improvise, possibly even creating an alternative dialogue. While this can be utterly adorable, it is also important to realize that you as a parent are the one responsible for guiding your little one in the right direction. Being able to clearly and confidently form distinct patterns of speech is what qualifies as articulation. In most cases, practice makes perfect. If you notice patterns of incorrect speech forming, gently repeat the words back to your child as if you were talking to a peer. This encourages your toddler to use critical thinking and also boosts the likelihood that he/she will listen to your instructions.
On the topic of monkey see, monkey do, sit with your child in front of a mirror. While you are seated side-by-side, look forward and recite a list of words that you feel might be difficult to pronounce. Move your mouth slowly and speak clearly at a level tone. While seeming like a silly game, your child will be able to learn not only by sound, but also by sight. Using more than one sense is a guaranteed way to expedite the learning experience. Once you recite these words, encourage your child to recite them back to you. A little bit of practice in this manner goes a long way. Make it a daily habit, and you will notice significant improvement.
Flash Card Association
Create your own personalized deck of flash cards to play with. This game can be tailored to what is deemed age-appropriate. If your child is of reading age, you can write out the words on one side of the cards, and then draw photos on the other sides. For younger children, using photos only can be a great starting point. Allow this to be an interactive experience; shuffle the deck and let your child choose a card. He/she will begin naming the objects, another way to incorporate visuals into the learning experience. You can also create a reward system. After completing the deck, treat your child to something special.
This site provides a good selection of flash cards for kids that you can easily print out and use for interactive learning with your child.
From a very early age, it is encouraged that you read to your child. This will stimulate the brain and spark creativity. As he/she becomes old enough to talk, pass down this element of storytelling. You can boost the fun of the activity by letting your child repeat you as you read. In time, share the job of being the reader. Switching back and forth between the two roles advances the functionality of the brain and also entertains in the process. Before you know it, your child will be the one reading you a bedtime story.
This is a highly interactive game that can be played frequently. Write down several words on small pieces of paper. Once you have done so, fold them up and hide them in various places throughout your home. You can encourage a hunt for “treasure,” and allow your child to begin the search for these papers. As they find the treasures, they must recite them (you may use photos for younger children). Reward them after they have recited all of the words or phrases. With this articulation exercise, learning how to speak properly will not feel like a lesson at all. This is a good game to play with a group of children, as well. Learning with a friend or sibling will further promote the desire to succeed.
It is not only a game played by adults, even toddlers can enjoy a lively round of charades. You can use your flash cards for this one. Let each player pick a card and then act out their given word. The guessing aspect will coax players into reciting various vocabulary. It is a fast-paced and entertaining way to spend quality time together, as well. Keep score of the points, and see who is able to rank #1 on the leaderboard. As your children advance, they will be able to play this without a parent to supervise.
Not every articulation activity has to involve an elabore setup. On a trip into town, you can keep the intellect flowing. Assign a letter or prefix and ask your child to point out things that begin with it. This can be done virtually anywhere. It will not only promote brain activity, but it will also keep your child engaged and occupied so that you are able to complete your to-do list. Your child will begin to look forward to the days when lots of errand-running is required.
A Letter A Day
Starting with the letter A, name an object (one that has rhyming potential). See how many rhyming words your child can identify. If he/she is school-aged, designate a notebook so that each rhyme can be written down. Each day, you can assign a different word beginning with the next letter of the alphabet. If you want to mix it up, individually write out the alphabet. You can then allow your child to draw a random character so that you do not have to go in alphabetical order. This is a great resource for incorporating a letter a day into preschool activities.
No matter the age or the skill level, learning how to articulate should be a fun experience for both you and your toddler. Remember that these skills come in time and that your frustration can be felt energetically. So keep the mood light and treat these articulation exercises as fun activities.