Autumn Activities to Target Phonological Awareness, Articulation, and Language Skills
Harnessing communicative opportunities from the objects, events, and experiences that your child encounters in his/her everyday environment is one of the most effective ways to foster language development. This can involve using daily routines, religious holidays, and seasonal celebrations as opportunities to promote language growth. As the Autumn season approaches, there are tons of new words, scenes, and experiences coming up for your child to engage with.
Fall Bingo is a great way to focus on your child’s understanding and production of seasonal vocabulary (e.g., pumpkins, leaves, turkey, pie, Halloween, scarecrow). There are tons of free printable Fall Bingo boards that you can download at home, or you can make your own! For vocabulary and grammar practice, have your child use each word in a sentence of their own or by repeating a sentence after you after identifying the picture on the Bingo Board (e.g., Pumpkin: I see a big, scary, orange pumpkin outside). For syllable awareness, have your child “clap out” each syllable that they hear after hearing each word (e.g., Hal-low-ween = 3 claps, pump-kin = 2 claps). For articulation and phonological awareness, challenge your child to identify the first sound in each word on the Bingo Board (e.g., “leaves” starts with the LLLLL sound! What letter makes the LLLLL sound?).
I-Spy can be played anywhere, and is a great activity for promoting word-retrieval skills, establishing category awareness, and expanding vocabulary. With Halloween coming up, there are bound to be some ghosts, skeletons, spider webs, bats, pumpkins, and black cats popping up around the neighborhood. Bring a paper or a whiteboard with you as you pick up your child from the bus stop. Play some Halloween I-Spy on the way home, and make a list of all the items that you found together. Have your child share all the new things he/she found with the family at dinnertime. Which ones are animals? Which ones are foods? Which ones are plants?
Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving every year, or just have some yummy fall dishes that you like to make as the weather cools down, recipe-building is a great way to challenge your child’s use of language while they participate in a functional, purposeful family activity. Build a fall recipe book with your child by planning out some meals together (e.g., Turkey soup, pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes). Have your child make a “list” of all the ingredients needed. If he/she is still learning how to write, you can print out pictures of each item, or have them draw a picture of each item to create the list. Once you’ve gathered the ingredients, you can get to work! By teaching your child the steps for each task and asking strategic “WH” questions (i.e., who/what/where/when/why) throughout the meal-making process, you can target your child’s use of sequencing vocabulary (e.g., first, next, last), action verbs (e.g., mix, pour, cut, roll, boil), and prepositions (e.g., on the pan, in the bowl, next to the eggs).