Making practice fun

Kids develop the use of new speech sounds best when they have short frequent practice sessions. It is best to practice for 5 or 10 minutes once or twice per day rather than try to do a big long practice once per week.

Doing regular practice is cost and time effective too. Just three 10 minute practice sessions is equal to an extra therapy session, so if you do one most days over a fortnight that is like doing an extra four therapy sessions which will help your child reach their goals so much faster. Kids are more willing to do regular practice if it is fun. Here are some activities to help your child practice their target speech sounds. Use the sound and word pictures provided by your speech pathologist with these activities.

Lotto Game: Each player has one complete page of pictures as a lotto board. Two more pages of these pictures can be cut into cards that match the lotto boards. Place the cards in a pile face down in front of the players. Each player takes it in turns to pick a card off the top of the pile, say the word practicing the target sound and match it to the lotto board.

Memory Game: Place pairs of cards face down in rows. Each player takes turns to turn over 2 cards and say the words, practicing the target sound. It the cards match, that player can keep the cards and have another turn.

Hiding Game: Hide the pictures around the room and ask the child to find them. As they find each one, they have to say the name of the picture on the card.

Board games: You can use your child’s pictures with their favourite games (e.g. snakes and ladders). Place a pile of cards face down and before each player has a turn they need to pick a card from the pile. The player then needs to say the target word before they have their turn.

Snap: Use the pictures to play snap. Make sure each player says the words on the card as they turn over each picture.

Posting: Post the pictures into a posting box (a box with a slot cut in it or an empty tissues box). The child needs to say the word on each card before they post it.

Puzzles: Place a pile of articulation cards in front of the child. Using a puzzle, tip out all of the pieces. Your child has to choose a card and say the word before they can put a piece in the puzzles. You can use any puzzle that the child doesn’t find too hard.

Skittles: Stick the articulation cards to the base or front of skittles. Have the child bowl their ball and knock over the skittles. Say the words on each skittle that has been knocked over.

Fishing: Using the picture cards, attach a paper clip and use a magnet on a string to catch the “fish”. Name the pictures as they are caught. You could also make fish shapes and attach the pictures to these.

Feeding a puppet: Use a puppet and the picture cards. Pretend the puppet is hungry and feed it the picture cards. Say the words as you give the puppet each card.

Shine a torch: Stick the picture cards on a wall or put them on the floor. Turn the lights down and shine a torch on the pictures as you say the words.

Bean bag toss: Scatter the pictures cards on the ground. Take turns throwing a beanbag on the pictures. Name the picture the bean bag lands on.

Throw the dice: Make a dice and stick the picture cards on each side of the dice. Take turns throwing the dice and saying the word the dice lands on. You can also use a number dice and take turns throwing the dice and saying as many words as the number you threw on the dice.

You can print of more fun games from the download section of our website to use in your home practice.

If you are concerned about your child's speech development check the "what to expect" and "checklists" section of our website to find out how your child is developing. If you are still concerned see how a speech assessment and therapy can help.

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