Ok, what little boy doesn’t love bugs?  They may not be your favorite subject, but if you are trying to help a little boy improve his speech or language skills, he’s going to love these activities!  Give them a try!

Go on a Bug Hunt! (Descriptors, following directions, writing)

Help your little guy go on a bug hunt by collecting real bugs in the wild or toy/candy bugs at home.  If you have nets and bug boxes, try finding some bugs outside.  He will love this!!  If not, you can always go buy candy bugs (like gummy worms) at the store or try to find some toy bugs.  The dollar stores often have collections of plastic bugs that work well.  You can hide them around the room or outside and have your child try to find and “catch” them.  Once your child has collected a bug or two, have your child use all of his/her senses to describe the bug. Create a 5 Senses Web like this on a piece of paper:

Draw a small circle in the middle of the paper where you or your child will write the name of the bug.  Practice saying the name with your child so he can get used to saying all of the sounds.  Then, make a box for each of the 5 senses.   You can label them with things like “what I see, what I hear”, etc.  Have your child write something in each box that describes that sense.  If your child isn’t old enough to write, you can write it for him/her.  Here are some ideas of things you can include in each box if you’re struggling:

See: What color, describe its body shape, how many legs, how many eyes, what body parts, what does it do (jump, crawl, light up, eat), is it fast or slow, does it look angry or happy, how does it interact with things around it, etc.

Hear: What sound does it make, is it loud or quiet, high or low, what does it sound like, what would you like it to sound like if it doesn’t make any noise

Smell: Does it smell like anything, describe the smell, is it good or bad, is it sweet or musty like dirt, what do you wish it smelled like

Feel: Is it heavy or light, how does it feel, rough or smooth, wet or dry, prickly or soft, does it tickle if it walks on you

Taste: AAAHHH DON’T EAT THE BUGS!  Ok, there I said it, I’m not endorsing bug-eating.  (Even if there is an ice cream shop in my town that tried serving cicada ice cream that one time…ew)  Only use this one if you chose to have candy bugs that your child can eat.  If so, ask your child how it tastes, if it’s sweet or salty, if it’s chewy or crunchy, if it’s sour, etc.

After you fill in every box, you can fill out another one for a different bug and compare them.

Vocabulary Expanding Activity:

For this activity, you will need the sheets you filled out for the last activity.  Get out a large piece of paper (or several pieces) and write “descriptors” at the top.  Then, list all of the descriptors that you used to describe your bugs on the 5 Senses Webs.  Make sure you leave room to the side of each word.  Next, tell your child that you need to come up with synonyms for these words.   Explain that a synonym is a word that means the same thing as a different word.  You can do the first few for him/her to get started.  For example, if your first word is “hard”, you could write “firm, stiff, solid” next to it.  If you have trouble, look them up in a thesaurus (use the internet if you don’t have one, just type in “synonym for ____”).  Don’t feel like this makes you look dumb to your kids, everyone needs help sometimes and it’s better that they know how to use resources like this.  Show your child how to do it.  This activity will not only expand your child’s vocabulary but it will also help show your child a tool that he can use for the rest of his life!  After you finish this, hang the paper somewhere so your child can use it for reference if he needs to later (if he’s a reader) or go over it with him later as a reminder (if he’s a non-reader).  You can also do this activity with antonyms and choose opposite words.

Make a Bug Book (Research, Speech, Craft, Reading)

Take pictures of bugs around the yard or get pictures of bugs from the internet for this one.  Print them out and then glue each picture on its own piece of construction paper or computer paper.  Then, write the bug’s name under the picture.  You can also have your child write a sentence about the bug if he’s old enough.   To do this, have him look up information about the bug online and write one thing about the bug that he didn’t know.  Show him how to look up information on credible websites online and research subjects that interest him.  After you have the book complete, have your child practice “reading” the book by saying each of the bug’s names.  If your child has trouble saying the longer names, help him by breaking the words down and then piecing them back together.  That would sound something like this:

Adult: Butterfly
Child: Bufai
Adult: Close, let’s try it like this- Bu
Child: Bu
Adult: Ter
Child: Ter
Adult: Fly
Child: Fly
Adult: Butter
Child: Butter
Adult: Butterfly
Child: Butterai
Adult: You’re almost there!  Let’s try one more way: Fly
Child: Fly
Adult: Terfly
Child: Terfly
Adult: Butterfly
Child: Butterfly

YAY You did it!!  It’s as easy as that.  Practice all the bug names that way until your child can say them.  For older children, have them read their books to someone else to practice their reading skills as well.

Thanks for reading!  What other methods to you use to help children learn to say multi-syllabic words?  Leave a comment below and let me know!