Spring has sprung! And, so have many beautiful flowers. Here’s an easy but fun arts and crafts activity to facilitate your child’s speech and language. I have included some tips and strategies to help stimulate vocabulary development.
Coloring Flowers with Bingo Markers
Draw a flower. Include its pedals, stem, and leaves. Keep it simple and make the parts easy to identify. This is especially good for children who need help in identifying parts from a whole. As you are drawing the flower, narrate what you are drawing (TIP # 1). For instance, “I’m drawing a flower. Now, I’m drawing the leaves…the pedals…stems….etc.” This may seem obvious, but it’s amazing at how quiet some parents are when they are playing with their children. If you’re expecting a child to verbally communicate, it’s important to use language during these intimate experiences because it teaches them that communicating is fun and exciting! Be animated and add inflection to your voice (TIP #2) – especially when introducing new vocabulary. For instance, if you are drawing the stem, stress the new word to alert your child’s attention to it (e.g. “I’m drawing the stem”. Repetition is also important. Children need multiple repetitions (TIP #3) and various contexts (TIP #4) to fully understand the meaning of a new word. Enriching, hands-on experiences and multiple yet different interactions really help the child to fully understand. I’m not a huge fan of using flashcards for younger children, like toddlers, because they are one-dimensional and can be easily misunderstood. So, repeat new vocabulary many times during the activity (“I drew the stem.” “The stem is green”. “The stem is long.”). Then, after the activity, take the child on a stroll through your backyard or neighborhood and point out flowers and name their various parts. Lastly, avoid asking the child too many test-like questions (TIP #5) – “What’s this?” or “What’s that?” Children are usually pretty aware that you are “testing” them and it takes the joy out of learning new things. Once you have drawn a flower (or two or three or more flowers) let the child “color” them with the bingo markers! It can look something like this:
Some Possible Target Words:
Summary of Tips:
1: Narrate your actions (Feel free to narrate your child’s actions too!)
2. Be animated and add inflection to your voice
3. Provide multiple repetitions
4. Expose the new word in various settings and contexts (see extension activities for examples)
5. Avoid asking too many “test-like questions”. Two words: NOT FUN!
Go on a nature walk
Arrange some flowers in a vase
Plant a flower in the yard or grow some seeds in a styrofoam cup
Kimberly Scanlon, M.A. CCC-SLP, is a speech language pathologist practicing in Bergen County, NJ. She provides home based speech therapy for children and adults through her private practice Scanlon Speech Therapy, LLC. To learn more about Kimberly visit www.scanlonspeech.com.