What do crafts have to do with speech?

This week we are going to talk about using crafts to improve speech and language skills! Here at the Playhouse we LOVE to do crafts! Not only is it a great way to work on fine motor skills, we are also practicing speech and language skills! Crafts work on vocabulary (basic concepts, verb and nouns), following directions (simple and multi-step), using social skills (requesting, eye contact, turn taking, protesting, informing, etc.), and asking and answering questions to name a few. Here are some ideas on how to work on speech and language skills during craft times!

  1. Use self-talk when you are completing a craft with your child. This is when you talk about what you are doing, seeing or hearing. For example, “I am drawing a blue circle.” “I am cutting my paper.” Or “I’m gluing the green square to my paper.”
  2. Use descriptive talk when coloring, painting or gluing. Descriptive talk is done when you describe the items you are using. For example, “The glue is sticky.” Or “The paint is wet.”
  3. Use expansions of to help expand your child’s utterances. Expansions are when you take the words your child says about what they see and do and repeat them with missing words/grammar. Another way to look at it, is repeating back the “child-like” sentences back to your child using more “adult” language. For example, if your child says “Me paint” you can say “Yes you are painting!” or if your child says “Play-dough blue” you can say “Yes that play-dough is blue!”
  4. Use extensions to help extend your child’s utterances and introduce them to new vocabulary and concepts. Extensions are similar to expansions, but one more step up. In extensions, you not only are repeating and expanding your child’s language, but you will also be adding or extending new information. For example, if your child said “Paint yellow” you could say “Yes, that paint is yellow! The paint is wet.”
  5. Model good speech and language skills! We want to teach our children what they should be saying and this is a great one-on-one time for you to work on that!

It may take some practice to get good at using these strategies during craft times, but once you do, you will see a difference in what your child is learning and how they are speaking!

These ideas as well as many more can be found on the Playhouse With Words 365 blog found here.

Submitted by Jenn Parsons, GiGi’s Playhouse Quad Cities Program Manager and Speech and Language Pathologist

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