My husband's family is a family that sings... a lot. They take tunes that they know and change the words to fit the situation. It can really be quite funny - either the lyrics themselves... or just how bad the song gets butchered. It's one of those that are you are either laughing with them or at them, but either way, we are laughing.
My son just recently started singing songs and remembering them. It has been a slow progression since he was about 2 1/2 years old, but I noticed the other day that he really does know most of the lyrics of songs now! Of course, he's singing: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Jesus Loves Me, Baby Beluga, Row Row Row Your Boat, etc. These are not top 10 hits (except for in our mini-van). One of his favorite songs in the Spiderman theme song (the original, from the 1960s). That one always cracks me up.
It made me start to think about when kids started to sing. Of course, every child is different. However, kids should usually start to sing songs and follow along with a tune between ages 2 and 3. That doesn't mean that you start introducing music at age 2. Kids need to have music around them from the time they are infants. When I saw music, I mean lullabies, praise and worship songs (if you are religious), kids songs with catchy beats, instrumental music, etc. There are so many benefits - learning to tap out of beat (first you will tap it out on their leg or bounce them as they listen), rhyming, variation in pitch, etc. You may not be a world class singer, but your child doesn't mind and he/she needs to hear your voice. Sing to your child/children when you put them to bed, wake them up, in the car, etc. Music development
Has it really been two weeks? That's what happens when I get out of my routine.
I made a mistake.
Timothy discovered a Thomas app on the ipad. He is obsessed with Thomas the train. One of the games on the app is a matching game. He quickly figured out how to play the matching game. He was able to navigate the game by touching the cards and would get excited when he found a match. If he found Toby (for instance) and he had already seen Toby somewhere else, he would immediately touch the correct card and say "TWO TOBYS"!!
Here's where the mistake comes in. I thought he had learned how to play a matching game. He had not. He also didn't know what same, different, or match meant.
Timothy pulled out the game Memory yesterday. He wanted to play it. I stopped what I was doing and sat down to play with him. I figured it would be a breeze since he's so good at it on the iPad. I was wrong. He turned over two cards (Nemo and Thumper) and the following exchange occurred:
Me: Are those the same?
Me: That's Nemo and this is Thumper. Are they the same or different?
Me: No, Nemo and Thumper are different.
There was no fight. There was no tantrum (from him at least ... I was kicking myself for being so foolish). We simply turned over the cards and I proceeded to play the game teaching him about same, different, and match.
It just shows you that technology can only bring you so far. One-on-one teaching with your child can't be replaced by a computer, tv, ipad, DS, etc. Now, do I think Timothy would go to college not understanding same, different, and match? No. However, I'm glad to catch it early and to be the one to teach him.
Recently, my son has started to attempt to imitate just about everything he hears. It's so cute! My father-in-law calls it "Pete and Repeat". However, I noticed that he is struggling with multi-syllabic words. Therefore, I went into "speech therapist" mode. Here are some easy ways to work on multi-syllabic words if your child is dropping one of the syllables.
1. tap on your child's hand for each syllable (can - dy would be two taps).
2. Pull out blocks or toys of some kind and place the correct number of toys to correspond with the number of syllables (3 syllables = 3 blocks). You would then touch each toy or block while saying each syllable (to-mor-row). Always model before you have the child attempt it.
Here is a short video to show you how it's done.
Remember that we are always trying to make sure to try to present information in more than one way. This will help by giving your child a tactile and visual stimulus!
This tactic can be used with young children who are learning to talk and imitate words. It can also be used with kids who are working on articulation, the phonological pattern of syllable reduction, or kids who are learning to listen. For those who are learning to listen, this gives them a visual aid to help them know how many parts of the word that they should be hearing.
Let's continue with idea of what to do if you have too many toys that are just lying around and don't have a home. These toys CAN be useful! Click here to see the previous blog post about activities for older kids.
First off, I suggest that you begin by going around your house and collecting up stray toys that seem to get lost in the shuffle and just don't have a spot to reside. Put them all in a big box. It doesn't matter what you collect since there are so many different things you can do with the toys. You don't really have to have a "mental checklist" of "must haves" for your box. In my box I have: 3 cars, 2 trains, 2 small balls, 3 plastic animals, 2 puzzle pieces (the puzzle no longer has all the pieces and was going to be tossed), 1 whistle, and 1 noisemaker. I could've collected more, but I have a young child and didn't want to overwhelm him.
Listening Comprehension: Depending on your child's level of sophistication with listening comprehension, you can:
Learning to re-tell a story is a skill that is hard to teach and even harder to master. However, practice practice practice and more practice will help kids learn to re-tell a story.
I like to use a simple formula with my kids. I start off instructing them to tell me the information in 1-2 sentences. Then, as they are able to master that, then we are able to add more sentences with greater detail. This form is one that I used with my speech therapy kids to help them remember what information they needed to tell and a way for them to write it out before telling it to the group.
You always want to know WHEN it occurred, WHAT HAPPENED, WHERE the event took place, and WHO was there. Of course you could always insert more information, but these are the basics. It becomes a great formula for simple sentences:
Also, as the kids become more comfortable with the information, they can move the information to any order in the sentence (that is grammatically correct). Simply cut out the parts on the WS and move them around to help keep a visual aid:
You get the idea...
If your child is working on listening comprehension, then make sure to ask him/her questions about what other people did over the summer.
Oh... and if you need clarification that these activities actually happened over the summer, you may want to send a note home to the parents to write 3-5 major events that happened over the summer. This way if a student can't think of anything he/she did over the summer, you are armed with a few ideas.
If your student is working on pragmatics, then this can be a great activity to have your student work on maintaining eye contact (with the whole group or pair that student up with one person so the audience is only one person), speaking loud enough for others to hear, remaining on topic, asking a question about someone else's story (and remaining on topic), etc.
Click here to download the pdf file.
Teach Speech has some exciting news! We have recently become part of the Teachers Pay Teachers world. This website is designed for teachers to be able to upload things they have created for FREE and for SALE! Then, teachers (or homeschooling parents or parents who love to do activities with their kids, etc) can log on and look for pre-made activities and pay the TEACHERS who have created them rather than the CORPORATIONS who put them out! How neat is that? We will continue to be creating materials for FREE, but we have also been working on several BIG projects that we will now have a forum to sell on. We are not quite ready to debut our thematic units (based on favorite children's books), but will start putting up some of our smaller projects - check it out as we hope to have new and exciting things up each day!
Click here to find the link directly to our store!
You want your child to learn matching... but you also need to fold the laundry and put it away. There's a great way to combine both activities! Pull out all of the socks and have your little one try to match them. You may first need to show him/her a pair of matching socks and teach them that when they are exactly the same, they are called a match.
You could also have the kids sort the clothes before folding them! Put all the t-shirts, shorts, underwear, and socks in separate piles. You could also have them sort by color BEFORE you do the wash. This may help you sort out the loads before loading them in the washer. There are so many great learning opportunities - even when it comes to laundry. (Plus, then they are helping with chores - score!).
Is your child working on listening comprehension? Ask for something specific in a pile of clothes. This will keep your child occupied while you fold laundry
I know what you must be thinking about the title, "I'm pretty sure that 'movement' is not one of the 5 senses." However, unless you plan on replacing the taste items each time you use your box or you are doing this with your child, then you may want to focus more on movement rather than taste. I'll touch on both in this blog.
You will want to collect things that have different tastes: salty (salt), sour (lemon), sweet (candy), bitter (cocoa powder - the unsweetened kind). My personal favorite when teaching "taste" is bitter. The kids see the cocoa powder and think, "chocolate!!!" However, their taste buds get something very different than what they are expecting. You can also talk about what animals eat (mice eat cheese, cats drink milk, etc) within this category.
Things that Move:
Because I use this box at work, I've focused on things that move. This will hit upon the use or function of objects, which is another way to describe. Although it's not one of the 5 senses, kids like to move around and so it's something they can relate to easily. I've chosen 3 items: wind up toy (that actually goes in circles), car, and ball. You can talk about it's action (flying, driving, rolling, bouncing, throwing, catching, etc). You can describe the direction (forward, backward, up, down, around). You can even talk about where you see these objects (on the golf course, in the air, on the street). Get creative when talking about how things move!
Sometimes we have to be very creative with our sense of "smell" as it relates to the sensory box. The best way I have come up with creating things that "smell" are using craft sticks, index cards, dry things that have a scent (jello packets, cocoa powder, etc), and flavorings (almond, vanilla, etc).
Using the jello packets (just the powder, do not make jello) and/or cocoa powder, place some glue on the index card and sprinkle the powder onto the glue. Let it dry. Then place it in it's own plastic bag. You will need to take it out of the bag for the child to smell the scent and see if they know what it is. You can also draw a picture of what it is on the back (or print out a picture).
Craft sticks/popscicle sticks work best for wet scents because the wood holds onto the smell. Dip about 2 inches of the craft stick into the desired flavoring (vanilla, almond, orange, mint, etc) and let it soak for about a minute. Then, let it dry. Place it in it's own bag as well (you don't want the smells to start to mingle). You can write the smell on the end of the craft stick.
Ta Da! You have yourself some scents for your sensory box!