by Sarah Dubrow
I always love pairing a fun book with a sensory activity to get kids excited about speech therapy, and any ocean themed book will work! Stories that are repetitive are much more engaging for children, because they can feel confident about what’s coming next.
This book, Way Down Deep in the Deep Blue Sea by Jan Peck and illustrated by Valeria Petrone is an awesome repetitive story that keeps kids engaged with vibrant pictures and words that kids can learn quickly.
Skills to Target:
||– Ocean themed vocabulary
– 3 – 4 word utterances
(e.g., I see a __)
– Pragmatic skills like waving “hi” and “bye” to the animals
||– Various speech sounds
– Syllable pacing (Turning books into a songs helps kids follow and sing along!)
And… For the Sensory Activity!
Once we finished reading our ocean story, I let the kiddos find different sea creatures in a variety of sensory bins. They were able to find and label the various sea creatures they saw in the story. We also talked about the different kinds of textures and feelings in each bin (cold, rough, squishy, wet etc.).
From left to right, I used sand, water with blue food coloring, and water beads or Orbeez (you can get these on amazon or at Target).
by Sarah Dubrow
- Pick a simple recipe (Or add miscellaneous ingredients into a bowl)
- If possible, have toys that resemble the cooking supplies
- Or give your child safe real materials
- Decide what words or phrases you would like to target with your child
- Use the provided strategies throughout your cooking session to elicit communication from your child.
Techniques to Increase Language Use
- Modeling – Hold objects close your mouth and say the target word. Having them make eye contact with you will draw their attention to you and help with imitation
- Descriptive Play – Describe what your child is doing as they are doing it . For example, you might say: “You are putting the flour in the bowl”
- “More” – Give your child only 1-2 pieces of something or give them less of what they need. This will encourage them to ask for more
- Repetition – When your child wants a certain item (or you are giving them an item) model the word 2-3 times before proceeding. After you model the word 3 times, give them what they want
“Ingredients” (Useful Words)
- Adjectives: Big, Small, Cold, Hot
- Prepositions: In, On, Under, Behind
- Nouns: Mommy/Daddy, Spoon, Bowl, Cup, Food, Drink, Mouth, Fingers, Hands, Belly/ Tummy
- Social Words: More, Please, Thank you, All Done, Help
- Verbs: Want, Drink, Eat, Clean Up, Mix, Stir, Shake, Pour, Dump
Common First Words Adapted from: The Rossetti Infant Toddler Language Scale (2006)
Other Language Rich Situations
In addition to cooking, use other daily activities to enhance language development.
- Going Shopping: Line up empty boxes or toy foods and have your child “go shopping” for foods they want or enjoy
- Singing: Incorporate familiar songs or sound effects into your cooking routine. For example, using “Clean up” song when the activity is finished
- Daily Routines: If a cooking session is too complex or time consuming, the provided techniques can be incorporated into other daily activities such as snack time, brushing teeth, dressing etc.
Other Helpful Online Resources: