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5 Playtime Activities to Help Encourage a Child with Speech Problems

By October 1, 2013December 21st, 2021Blog

The education of a child extends well beyond the classroom; this statement is especially true for children experiencing challenges developing their speech and language skills. While classroom teachers and speech pathology specialists may work wonders for your child while they are in school, supporting this training in your home may help your child better manage their unique challenges. In order to make learning fun in the home you might want to consider using games and play to encourage language development, reasoning, and social skills. Some of these playtime activities include: board games, imagination games, building blocks, puppet shows, and word games on the go.

1. Board Games:
Playing a board game, any board game, with your child encourages communication, deductive reasoning, and development of social skills. You may be surprised by how much a child learns from observing your behaviors while they spend time playing with you. Some great games for school age children are Guess Who and Memory.

Guess Who Requires your child to ask questions and use the process of elimination to determine the character on your mystery card (for full instructions click here). This game encourages deductive reasoning and communication; it can also be used to correct articulation problems as the game requires the child to verbalize their questions. During gameplay, you can coach your child to use correct pronunciation and grammar, and practice sounds.

Memory In this game each player takes turns trying to make pairs from the available cards which are placed face down on the playing surface (for full instructions click here). Memory, obviously, enhances your child's memory, as the object is to remember where specific objects are on the playing surface; the game also presents opportunities to work on vocabulary, for example; if you pick a card with a yellow duck on it, you can name the duck, and ask questions like What sound does a duck make; or what color is the duck

2. Imagination Games:
Play involving creating an imaginary scenario or world may help improve your child's creativity and make it necessary for them to use language to describe and direct the play. For example, if your child was pretending to go on an animal safari they would need to describe the animals they saw while out on safari, detailed descriptions such as a giant lion with sharp teeth that roared and ran towards us very fast not only creates strong associations between a lion and their behaviors and appearance, it is also a fun way for children to learn to make sentences using descriptive words or phrases.

3. Playing With Building Blocks
Building blocks are a great toy that can provide hours of entertainment and learning for a child. As the child works to build their tower let them direct block placement, using appropriate directional terms like under, over, on top, to the left, etc. Blocks also help the child learn mathematical concepts like using space, abstract thinking, and balance. Blocks usually come in a variety of colors and shapes, the recognition and verbalization of these colors and make the concepts become more concrete. In asking, for example, to pass the red circle, the child is practicing using their words and descriptive language abilities.

4. Puppet Shows
Puppet Shows can enhance a child's ability to remember and retell a story, one that they have read, heard, or made up themself. Producing a puppet show with your child can help them develop their ability to form full sentences, by prompting the child to recite lines for the show, or helping them develop their own puppets dialogue. As a bonus children can also play with social interactions, by making the characters of the puppet show interact with one another the child can imitate observed social norms and practice using them in different situations.

5. Word Games on the Go
Take advantage of the time you spend with your child in the car, using travel time as together time. Classic car games, like classic cars, never go out of style, try old favorites like I Spy where you pick out an object you see in the car or along the roadside and give the child clues until they guess the object you are thinking of or looking at. A sing-a-long is another way to get your child working on their speech, choose songs that are appropriate for their level of development, or are full of words and sounds your child has difficulty pronouncing (if your child has a hard time with the T sound try singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star ). This way you are not only making travel time quality time with your child you are helping them to develop their language skills and deductive reasoning abilities.

Spending time talking and interacting with your child is important, but it is even more important if your child is experiencing challenges in the development of language skills. In today s digital age, it is easy to forget that non-electronic forms of fun are important to the development of a child's essential communication skills. If you are interested in helping children with speech and developmental problems as a career choice, you can explore programs in the field of Speech-Language Pathology.

Spending time with your child playing with simple toys or games is a way to bond with your child, teach them, and encourage them to use their language skills. Playtime is an opportunity to observe, bond, and correct improper language usage.

Written and edited by Laura Morrison, the Content Manager of For advice and information on continuing education in Speech-Language Pathology, please visit

Craig Selinger

Author Craig Selinger

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