Children learn best when actively participating in hands-on activities. Here are four great Fall activities to promote speech, language and development in your little ones!
How do you elicit language with art?
Start by laying out the materials. You can get them out one by one to help keep your child’s attention. You will discuss the supplies, and what you can do with them. Additional ideas for enhancing language and learning are listed under each activity.
- Fruit Loop Fall Tree Craft
- Fruit loops cereal (or healthy alternative)
- White cardstock paper (Don’t have cardstock? Try gluing two pieces of regular paper together.)
- Toilet paper roll
Cut out the top of the tree with the white card stock paper. Cut two slits across from each other in the empty toilet paper roll. Put glue all over the tree top and decorate with fruit loops. Be sure to lightly press on each foot loop to make sure it sticks. Allow fruit loops to dry and slide the paper tree top inside the slits!
Enhance the Activity:
Start by playing with the fruit loops only and allowing your child to decide what color they want to use in their tree. Work on developmental skills such as counting, matching and sorting. For example, sort the colors they want to use (say, red and green). Discuss each step as you’re doing it using key sequencing words such as, “first,” “next,” “then,” “last.” Label objects and verbs as you work (trunk, leaves, tree, glue, scissors, cut, press). Use prepositions (on, in) while placing fruit loops on the tree. Expand language by talking about where you see trees, who lives in trees (squirrels), and asking simple questions like “Do trees grow?”
- Apple Stamps
- Apples, cut in half from top to bottom
- Large paper
- Paint (use what you have – examples include red, brown, green, yellow)
- A smock!
- Optional Materials:
- Paintbrush to paint branches
- Scissors and green construction paper to cut out leaves and caterpillars
- Black marker to make a caterpillar face
Cut the apple in half. Pour paint onto a paper plate (or other surface) and dip apples into the paint or use paintbrush to paint and smaller amount of paint onto the apple. Stamp the painted apple onto the paper and create you very own apple design! You could stamp brown paper bags for your child’s lunch, small paper and turn it into a “Thank You” card, or large paper and paint in tree branches. Be creative and have fun with it! For the optional part of this project, you can paint the branches ahead of time for younger kiddos. You can also pre-cut some leaves and caterpillars, but older children can do that themselves. After the apples are stamped, add the leaves and caterpillars.
Enhance the Activity: Example discussion and language opportunities for this project include…
Cut an apple in half. Ask, “What do you think we are going to do with the apples?” (prediction).
“I have an apple. It’s a fruit.” (category). “What do you do with an apple?” (object function). “I wonder how they taste?” (sweet, crunchy, juicy). Let your child try a piece.
“I like red apples, do you? What other colors can they be?” (describing). “Can you think of other things that are red?”
(category). “Hmmm, where do you think apples come from? Do they grow on the ground?” (in/ on-prepositions)
“I have some paint too. What else do I need to go with paint? A brush? Why do I need a brush?” (Wh? questions, object function).
Continue discussing the glue, scissors and paper. Vocabulary may include sticky, wet, sharp, cut… you’ll think of these as you go! Include words like “first,” “next,” “last” as you go through the steps of your project to practice sequencing and following directions. Asking questions like, “Okay, what do you need first?” to ensure understanding. Use verbs like dip, push, stamp. Quantity words could include few, many and some.
- Cinnamon Dough
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup salt
- 2 teaspoons Cream of Tartar
- 2 Tablespoons Ground Cinnamon
- 2 Tablespoons Canola Oil
- 1 cup water
First, combine the flour, salt, cream of tartar, and ground cinnamon in a medium saucepan. Next, add the water and oil and stir it all together. Cook it over medium heat stirring continually until a ball forms. Then, dump it onto the table and knead it a bit. (You may want to do this part at first because the dough will be quite warm). Once it’s mixed up a bit and cooled off, give a section to your child. They will love to squish it while it’s still warm.
Enhance the Activity:
Baking is the perfect way to practice sequencing skills and following oral directions! Encourage these skills in your little ones by having them follow directions involving “first,” “then,” “next” and “last.” Ask “WH” questions to ensure understanding. For example, “What will we put in NEXT?” Use self-talk to talk about what you are doing to your child. Narrate your actions – for example, “I am kneading the dough. Now, it’s your turn to knead the dough.” Talk about what your child is doing, seeing, or touching. Narrate what he/she is doing – for example, “Bobby is mixing the flour. Great job mixing Bobby!” (parallel-talk). Discuss action words and vocabulary including: mix, stir, pour, squish, etc.
- Easy DIY Bird Feeders
- Toilet paper rolls
- Peanut butter
- Bird seed
- Butter knife or other tool for spreading
Give each child a toilet paper roll and have them carefully cover it in peanut butter. Once covered have your kiddo roll the toilet roll in bird seed. That’s it! Once the feeder is covered in seed it is ready to be hung. You can hang it directly on a tree branch or string rope, yarn or shoe string through it and use that to hang it. Your child will love watching for birds to come eat from the feeder they created!
Enhance the Activity:
Talk about each material as you take it out. What is it? Why do you need it? (WH questions). Label the tools and materials. Present clear and simple directions for your child to follow. Talk about and identify actions words from the activity: roll, stick, spread, hang etc. Before and After: Take a picture of the materials before you begin, at the end of the finished product and after a couple of weeks when the birds have eaten the seeds. Discuss before and after! How is it the same? How is it different?
Kelly Fridholm, M.C.D., CCC-SLP