Practicing Articulation at Home with your Child

Life is busy! Parents are juggling their own work commitments, home needs, all of their children’s extra-curricular activities, and staying on top of their children’s academic needs. When is there time for speech therapy homework?

Here are a few tips to help make practicing articulation at home easier and more attainable

1. ROUTINE: Add speech therapy home practice to a daily routine which is already well established (e.g. right after teeth brushing before bed, or at snack time after school).

2. KEEP IT SHORT: Aim for 10 minutes every day. Realistically, if you get in 3 practice sessions over the week, you are significantly boosting your child’s progress towards his/her goals.

3. FREQUENCY IS KEY: Frequent but shorter duration is better (e.g., 4 times a week for 5 minutes is better than one session for 20 minutes).

4. MAKE IT FUN! Always pair practice with a game so your child will be excited to practice! Include lots of reinforcement and praise while practicing. Include siblings, or make it a special 1:1 time with mom/dad.

5. FOLLOW THE STEPS: Make sure you are practicing at the right step. At Speech Pathways, all of our therapist’s provide you with a diagram of the speech therapy steps and will tell you each week where your child is at on the hierarchy. Your speech therapist will also give you specific practice ideas. No need for planning on your part.

Simple game ideas for speech therapy home-practice

Alternating between practice and play is a great way to keep your child motivated to practice speech. Before your child takes a turn at a game have him/her practice 3 targets at whatever stage they are at (word, phrase, sentence). Motivation remains high if parents play and practice too. When it is your turn, make sure you say 3 targets before you take a turn at the game. An excellent way to improve your child’s monitoring skills is to intentionally make errors when it is your turn to practice. If your child catches the speech error, he/she can steal your turn!

Memory (matching)

Use the pictures provided by your Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) to make into flashcards. Ask for two copies and glue some coloured paper behind the pictures, then cut them out. Put all the cards face down and take turns turning over two cards. Each time you turn over a card, you must say the name of the card. The object of the game is to find a match. Whoever has the most matches is the winner. *This is a great game if your child is at word level.

Egg carton toss

Number the spaces in an egg carton. Have your child toss a coin into the carton. He/she must say their target word the number of times written on the space where their coin landed. *This game is best for word level.

Go fish

Use the pictures provided by your SLP to make into flashcards. Ask for two copies and glue some coloured paper behind the pictures, then cut them out. Shuffle the cards and deal 3 or 4 cards to each player and then put the remaining cards in a pile in the middle of the table. The first player asks for a specific card (e.g., “Do you have a dog?”) If the opponent has a dog, he gives it to player one, and this player puts down his first pair. If he does not have a dog, he says “Go Fish”. Player one then picks up a card from the remaining pile. Whoever has the most cards once all the cards are gone is the winner. *This is a great game for Sentence level.

Mother may I

Use the pictures provided by your SLP to make a long winding path. At the end of the path should be a treat (e.g., candy, sticker). Use two pawns for this game. The object of the game is to get to the end of the path first. Your child goes first and says “Mother, may I go to snake?” If he/she says “snake” correctly, then you must say “Yes you may”. Your child then advances his/her pawn to snake. If he/she makes a mistake on their target word then you simply say “No you may not”. Your child then stays where he/she is on the path and tries again next turn. Then it is your turn to ask your child: “Mother may I go to snake?” Try to randomly make intentional errors so that your child gets to the finish line first. *This is a great game for sentence level.

Board games

Play a board game that your child loves. Don’t worry if it is a long game such as Monopoly; you can put it in a safe place and continue the game each time you sit down to practice. Before each player takes a turn, he/she must say her target word, phrase or sentence.
*This is a great activity for all levels of speech therapy.

I spy books

Practice your child’s speech targets while playing with an “I Spy” book. Once your child has practiced saying 3 target words, phrases or sentences, have a race to see who can find an object on the page. Then go back to the target words for 3-4 more productions and take another turn at “I Spy”.
*This is an activity for all levels.

Beat the clock

You will need the pictures provided by your SLP and a watch with a second hand. Your child will go through the pile of target words one at a time saying them as fast as he/she can. The adult will quickly flip over a new picture once he/she has “correctly” said a word (phrase or sentence). Record the amount of time it took for your child to go through the pile. Then do the activity a second or even third time and have your child try to beat his/her previous time. This game is great at getting the target sound to carryover to normal conversation.
*This game is great for all levels of speech therapy. If your child is at sentence level, they will need to say a sentence each flip (e.g. “I see a ______”).

Never-ending story

Use the pictures provided by your SLP. Let your child pick 4-6 cards, and you pick 4-6 different cards. Take turns adding to a made up story using each of the picture cards.
*This game is fantastic for story level.

Retell familiar stories

Use picture stories from your own books that your child is very familiar with. If your child is already reading, make sure you cover the text. Have your child “tell” the story in his/her own words while looking at the pictures only. Correct any speech errors that occur while he/she is telling the story.
*This is excellent for story level.