5 Perfect Speech and Language Activities for Your Child During Fall
Fall is my favorite season for many reasons: the weather gets cooler, the holidays are approaching, and there are so many speech and language skills that can be incorporated into fall activities.
Parents will often ask me what games they can buy to work on their child’s speech and language skills. This is a great question and the perfect opportunity to explain how it is not so much about the game you are playing, but rather how you are using that game or activity to target speech and language skills.
This also allows the chance for me to brainstorm with parents how they can work on different skills at home with what they already have available. And what better way to target skills in a functional way than to utilize what is already available in their environment? This is why fall is my favorite—there are so many functional, engaging ways to target skills with activities related to fall.
Autumn Speech and Language Activities for Children
- Create a Fall Sensory Bin
Find a large bin or basket in your house and fill it up with leaves. Find objects around the house that you can hide under the leaves. Have your child find the different objects and describe what they found. If your child is working on generating short phrases or sentences, they can work on the sentence, “I found _______.” If your child is working on a specific target sound (e.g., the /f/ sound), hide different objects under the leaves that start with that target sound. Once they find the object, have them say the name of the object to practice the target sound.
- Go for a Walk
This activity is my favorite because it targets so many different skills. As you are walking, talk about what you see with your child. Some topics to talk about include: the leaves changing colors, leaves on the ground, what we wear in the fall, people raking leaves, and the weather during the fall.
You can also play “I Spy” with your child as you go on your walk. Always remember that when we are modeling language for our children, we always want to talk a little above where they are. For example, if a child speaks using three-word utterances, we want to model language using four- or five-word sentences. So, if we are talking to a child about the leaves changing colors, we can model a short phrase/sentence such as, “Wow! Leaves are different colors.” instead of “Look at how the leaves are changing colors because the season is changing.”
- Apple/Pumpkin Picking
If you enjoy going apple or pumpkin picking with your children, this is another way to work on speech and language skills in a natural environment. If your child is working on prepositional words, such as "in," "on," or "off," this would be a great opportunity to work on these skills. You can ask your child to put apples in the basket, take apples off of the tree, or even something silly such as putting the apple on your head! Additionally, you can work on describing words such as "big" or "little" when choosing the perfect sized pumpkin to bring home.
- Pile of Leaves
What could be better than playing in a pile of freshly raked leaves? This is the perfect opportunity to get children moving and having fun while working on their speech and language skills! If a child is working on different action words, have them perform different actions in the big pile of leaves. For example, they can jump into the leaves, run in the leaves, stomp on the leaves, or even sit on the leaves. Once they are done playing, you can have them follow directions to help you clean up the leaves. Additionally, if you are working on descriptive words, you can talk about the pile and its size (big or small).
- Carving a Pumpkin
Carving a pumpkin can be another great activity to target a variety of speech and language skills. For students working on sequencing, you can talk about the steps needed to make a jack-o-lantern (i.e., First, we scoop out the seeds. Second, we draw the face. Third, we carve the pumpkin. And last, we put a candle inside of the pumpkin.) You can also talk about what kind of face you are going to draw on the pumpkin (i.e., a scary face, a happy face, etc.). When taking the seeds out of the inside of the pumpkin, you can also talk about what it feels like.
These are just a few autumn activities that can be utilized to incorporate a variety of speech and language skills! Speak with your child’s speech language pathologist to find out what skills are being worked on and how those skills can be incorporated into activities at home. Remember, we want to keep activities fun and functional! It is not so much about the specific activity itself, but how you can incorporate speech and language skills into the activity. Choose an activity, make a plan, and have fun with it.
Alison Bono, M.S., CCC-SLP
Alison Bono is an ASHA certified Speech Language Pathologist who has been working with individuals diagnosed with speech and language impairments since 2018. She has an undergraduate degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from James Madison University and a graduate degree in Speech Language Pathology from Monmouth University. Alison has a passion for working with individuals with disabilities and believes that every individual deserves the opportunity to have a voice.
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