It’s springtime and the snow is giving way to rain! It’s best to be prepared for those rainy days with some great rainy day activities that will encourage speech and language development as well. You might as well get some speech and language work done if you’re going to be stuck inside!
Rainy Day Activities #1:
Practice Social Skills: Role Playing and Discussion
Many kids with speech and language delays need help with their social communication. This is especially true of children on the autism spectrum. Rainy days are great opportunities to practice some of those social skills in a safe environment. Here’s what you will need to do: choose one of the scenarios below and act it out for your child or read to him what happens in the scenario. Then, talk about the scenario with your child. You can ask questions like “what should he do next?”, “what should he have done instead?”, or “how could they resolve this problem?”. Discuss all options and choose which one is best. Chances are, you will need to help your child through this process because he may not know the best solution right away. That’s what you’re doing this! Use some of these scenarios as ideas and then create your own based on the social problems that your child has when interacting with others. The ideas below begin with younger social skills and work up through older, just to give you an example from each age range. For the younger children, it is often helpful to act out the scenario with two people (such as you and another adult). If you’re by yourself, try using a stuffed animal as a stand-in.
1. Bobbie is playing with a toy. Susie wants to play with it, too. She runs up and yells “mine!” and grabs it. Then she runs away. Bobbie cries.
- What should Susie have done if she wanted a turn?
- What should Bobbie have done when Susie took his toy?
- Let’s practice taking turns like Susie and Bobbie should have done.
2. Bobbie goes to a new place where he doesn’t know anybody. He wants to play with the other kids but he doesn’t know how. He just sits in the corner by himself instead of playing with the other kids.
- What could Bobbie say to introduce himself to the new kids?
- What could the other kids say to invite Bobbie to play with them?
- How could Bobbie start a conversation with one of the other kids?
- Let’s practice saying “hi” and introducing ourselves to new people.
3. Bobbie: Hey, Susie! How are you?
Susie: I’m great how are you?
Bobbie: I’m good. I just got this new train and it is so cool!
Susie: Oh wow, I love trains! What does it do?
Bobbie: I has a whistle that blows and real smoke comes out!
Susie: I had a peanut butter sandwich for lunch!
- What did Susie do wrong in this conversation?
- What could Susie have said instead to stay on topic?
- Why is it important to stay on topic when talking to your friends?
- Let’s practice taking 5 turns each talking about the same subject
4. Bobbie always talks about trains. They are his favorite thing and he loves talking about them! Whenever Susie starts talking about something else, Bobbie always brings the topic back to trains. He doesn’t pay any attention when Susie rolls her eyes or stops listening, he just loves talking about trains.
- Why do you think Susie rolled her eyes and stopped listening to Bobbie?
- Why is it important to talk about what other people want to talk about sometimes, too?
- Let’s write down all the ways that we can tell when someone is tired of hearing about what we are talking about. Then let’s come up with some things we can say to find out what they want to say (like “what have you been up to lately?” or “what kinds of things do you like to do?”).
5. When Susie has a conversation, she always does all the talking. She never lets anyone else talk. When she does group projects at school, she always decides who does what part. Some people call her bossy.
- Why do people call Susie bossy?
- What should Susie do to make sure everyone gets a chance to talk?
- Let’s write a list of ways that we can incorporate everyone into a conversation (such as asking others questions, making polite comments about someone else, etc.). Then, let’s practice talking about a topic while including everyone in the room.
Rainy Day Activities #2:
Rainy Day Vocabulary Craft: Following Directions, Vocabulary, Sorting
This is a super fun craft that is great for a rainy day but you can use it throughout the year to work on vocabulary and categorizing as well. First you will need to help your child make some umbrellas and rain drops. Make sure the raindrops are big enough that you can put pictures on them later. To work on following directions with your child, make a set of directions for completing this craft. You could find coloring pages by doing a Google image search for “umbrella coloring pages”. You could also do a search for raindrop coloring pages. Then, your child could have directions to color them and cut them out. Make as many of these as you want, the more you have the more you can categorize. You will also need to get some small pictures of common objects to put on your raindrops. You can find these in catalogs or by using Google image search again. Try to choose a few objects from various categories. For example, choose a few foods, a few clothes, a few vehicles, etc. Glue one object onto each raindrop. That can be part of the directions you give your child to complete the craft. Then, write each category on one of the umbrellas. For example, one might say “clothes” and another might say “foods”.
Now that your craft is done, you can use it to practice vocabulary and sorting! Lay the umbrellas out in front of your child. Hand your child a rain drop and say “what’s this?”. Once your child tells you what it is (or you help him say the name of it), ask him which category it goes it. Is it a food? Clothing? Vehicle? Place the rain drop with the appropriate umbrella.
Enjoy these rainy day activities! Keep in mind, the more you work with your child on his speech and language skills, the fast he will progress. Keep up the good work! For more great speech and language ideas, check out my Pinterest page by clicking here!