It is Easter time again and with the kids at home, there is plenty of time to do intensive pragmatic activities in a colourful fun environment. An abundance of Easter chocolates also can work as a nice little reward at the end of jam packed speech practice session.
Here are some more, great holiday communication activities to try at home:
Gesture to spot the different egg
This activity is great for working on ‘Same’ and ‘Different’ concepts as well as gestures. For children who are not yet using language, Easter eggs are a great motivator to work on building communicative intent through non-verbal communication (intentional gestures to get a message across). Start with just one or a few eggs mixed in with cotton balls or another non desired object. First model hand over hand pointing so the child learns the idea that when they place their finger in the direction of the desired object, they get a desired outcome i.e. they get to place the Easter egg in their basket.
Once the child is starts to learn the pattern, you can take away your hand prompting and watch as they gesture on their own. Make sure to give plenty of praise once the child is able to independently use the gesture. Another way to play this game for children who have difficulty with the ‘Same’ and ‘different’ concepts is to place a handful of the same eggs in a bowl and place one different egg in the mix. Then use a magnifying glass and model the search for one that has features that are ‘NOT’ like the others. Emphasize that the search is for the egg that is NOT like the others. Once you find the egg, add in another different egg and give the child an opportunity to find the different egg.
Turn taking egg memory game
There are plenty of great ways to target turn taking. Here is a great Easter themed activity to work on turn taking as well as matching and colour recognition. All you need is a carton of eggs, the cartons of 6 work well for younger children and 12 for older children or those who require more of a challenge. Start by painting coloured dots on the bottom of the eggs, two of each colour. Make sure the dots are painted on so the colour cannot be seen when the egg is placed back in the carton. Place the eggs back in a random order within the carton with the dotted end down. Now take turns picking 2 eggs each to find a pair.
Reinforce the turn taking by announcing on each turn the person’s name e.g. ‘mum’s turn’ or ‘tom’s turn’ and ensure that each person is taking their turn appropriately. You can be sure that the child has understood the concept once they are either able to tell you who’s turn it if they are using verbal speech. If they are not yet verbalising they will have waited for everyone else to have their turn before attempting another turn. The winner of the game is the person with the most matched eggs at the end.
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This article was written by our Speech Pathologist Ashleigh Fattah who is a Speech Pathology Australia member. If you have speech pathology related questions, make an appointment. We‘ll provide you with simple and effective therapy targeted to your concerns. Contact us today.