by Kelly Faulkenberry Cheek, MSP, CCC-SLP & Keri Spielvogle, MCD, CCC-SLP
With a little thought, parents can turn everyday routines and boring chores into wonderful language learning opportunities! From cooking meals to going to the grocery store, use the following activities to open the door and build upon your child's language skills.
Eat Your Way to Stronger Language Skills!
Mealtimes are the perfect opportunity to allow your children to strengthen their language skills. At snack time, include your children in the process by sequencing the steps taken to complete the snack and encouraging them to remember what step comes next. Promote descriptive language by allowing your children to describe each item as you use it. (i.e., orange cheese, sweet chocolate syrup, salty crackers, etc.) As you prepare a meal, let them participate by setting the table, naming each item as they place it on the table. Encourage counting skills by allowing your children to gather the correct number of utensils, plates, and napkins for each family member. Develop their ability to follow directions by telling them where to place each object. For example, "Put a fork at Daddy's place, and give your sister a napkin."
Baking Up Good Language Skills!
Baking makes for another great language learning opportunity for your children. Bake a batch of cookies using colored candies with your children. Encourage them to help you by spooning the dough on the pan, sorting the candy by color, and counting how many to put on each cookie. This allows your children to actively participate in the chores while strengthening many language skills.
To Market, To Market, to Build Strong Language!
Turn the task of grocery shopping into a wonderful opportunity to build your children's language skills. Encourage them to notice the different categories of foods (fruits, vegetables, cereals, etc.), the different shapes and colors of foods, and the different packages of food items. Ask your children to explain the different tastes and temperatures of the foods (salty/sweet, hot/cold, crunchy/chewy).
Let your children tell you what their favorite foods are and encourage them to tell you why they like these foods. Assigning "duties" for each child promotes a sense of direction and a feeling of independence. Before sending your children to complete their duties, be sure they know where they are going and what they need to get to complete their tasks. With all this talking, you might make going to the store a more enjoyable experience.