“If you’re bored, then the child is probably bored.”
I once received that advice from a professor in college regarding our speech therapy sessions. And she was right. If I was feeling bored by a session, most likely the child was also bored and probably not doing his or her best work.
When I ask my readers what they are looking for on my site, they often respond with “I just want ways to make our sessions more fun. I’m sick of the same old stuff. I need new ideas!”. Well here are my top resources for making speech therapy more fun.
1. Incorporate Some Movement!
Kids love to move. Heck, I love to move! I have a standing desk in my office just so I can get more movement in while I’m doing my work. The more you can incorporate fun movement into your speech therapy sessions, the more fun the child will have and the harder he or she will end up working.
I also heard somewhere that when children move their bodies while practicing or learning a new skill, they activate more parts of their brain and are more likely to retain it. Unfortunately, I’ve never been able to find that research so I can’t cite it for you, but I have definitely seen this to be true in my experience (if you know of that research study, please send it to me!).
Here are some fun ways to incorporate movement into your sessions:
Try Some Yoga:
Holding yoga poses while working on speech and language skills can definitely bring an element of fun to your sessions. Here are some great ideas on using yoga in speech therapy:
Take your therapy sessions to the great outdoors! Even just lying in the grass while you work can make it more fun. You can also have the child do different actions while practicing skills such as jumping, walking on a balance beam, or playing hop scotch. Here are some fun outdoor activities for speech therapy:
Find a ball and a basket and have the child shoot a basket for every 5 times he practices the skill correctly.
2. Play Games
Spice up your speech therapy sessions with some fun games. You can find games that are specific to the skill you are working on, such as some of the one ones on my website:
Or, you can use any game that you have available and work your speech or language target into it. For example, if you play a game that requires players to take turns, the child can practice his speech or language skill a few times before each turn. Or, if it is a game that has multiple pieces (like connect four or marble works), you can have the child practice his skill before you give him the next piece.
If you have access to a smart phone, tablet, or computer, you can also find apps or games that will target specific skills. Here are some of my resources on using apps and technology in therapy:
3. Choose Themed Activities
If your child has a particular interest, use that to work on speech and language skills. For example, if the child loves characters from a specific TV show and he needs to work on “he” and “she”, look up pictures of those characters doing different things and practice making sentences like “he is running” and “she is sleeping”.
You can also use seasonal interests, such as doing activities that relate to an upcoming holiday that the child is excited about.
Here are my themed activities:
4. Get Buy-In From the Child
Speech therapy is always more fun for the child if she understands why she is there and wants to work hard. In order to achieve this, you must get buy-in from the child. She has to know what it’s all about and be motivated to work hard. Here are some tips for getting buy-in from a child:
5. Try Some Crafts
Kids love making crafts and crafts provide excellent opportunities to understand and use language. Here are some fun speech and language crafts to get your imagination running:
6. Do Something Fun While Drilling Flashcards
One of the least exciting part of speech therapy is drilling flashcards, but that is a very important part of learning to say a new sound (or learn a new language skill). If you have a child working on a set of flashcards, check out my list of activities to spice things up. You can download it in handout form so that you can send it home with families when you send home a sheet of flashcards.