Use these kid-friendly exercises to get your mind and body moving and practice speech therapy goals with your kids!
Incorporating physical activity and exercise into your child’s life is necessary not only for mental and physical health but also for growth. A study by Marijke Mullender-Wijnsma et al. showed that children learn better when they move. Combining body movement with the purpose of speech and language can help parents and children work together so that their minds and body.
Exercise and speech therapy practice tips
Emphasizing fun is important for your child. Whether this is through a sport or a task they enjoy, you can be the role model for your child. If they see you enjoying a physical activity, they are more likely to want to join and practice alongside you. All of the tasks and exercises below are developmentally appropriate, but they can also be modified for older children based on their interests.
Having tangible items integrated into each activity can also aid in improved attention to tasks. For example, when playing hopscotch, have your child throw a ball back and forth with each turn. They will be actively participating in this game, and thus be more attentive to the task.
Fun exercises and games for your child in online speech therapy for kids
Many parents are familiar with playing hopscotch from their own days on the playground. Hopscotch is a versatile game when it comes to incorporating practice of speech sounds, and can be played indoors or outdoors. Indoors, you can use painter’s tape to make the squares, or your carpet may already have a pattern to follow. Outdoors, you can use sidewalk chalk to draw your own hopscotch game, or visit a park or playground that has one painted on the ground.
Have your child pronounce a speech sound, words, or a phrase they need to practice every time they hop to a new box. You can have them pronounce one syllable of the word each time they hop. Once your child has gone through 10 words, you can have them increase complexity and/or receive their target reward.
You can even write the words or syllables to repeat in each box, to make it easier to remember. Use one-syllable words, or choose multi-syllable words, and write one syllable in each box. If you want, you can also create a sentence or phrase for your child to repeat.
Here are some examples of multisyllabic words to repeat/write in the boxes (remember to use age appropriate words for your child):
Here are some examples of words targeting specific sounds (for this example, we target the sound /k/ in medial position):
Here are some examples of phrases you can have your child repeat:
Using phrases will also provide your child with a step by step direction on how to construct a sentence that is grammatically correct, while also playing a game that is fun! Download our Hopscotch for Speech pdf to see more fun ways to use this activity!
Lily Pad Jump
Create lilypads out of construction paper (click here to download our outline) and create a pathway on the floor for your child to follow. Or, outdoors, draw the lily pads somewhere safe with chalk.. Have them start at the first lilypad, and then jump to each lilypad along the path by following your instructions written on each lilipad (see examples below). Once your child reaches the final lilypad, they win!
This game incorporates following directions, receptive language skills, and language comprehension, including wh-questions such as what, where, why, etc.
Give your child a prompt which either provides them with a 1-step direction or a wh-question. See the following examples:
- “Jump 1 time and clap your hands.” (If they do the task correctly they get to move forward to the next lily pad.)
- “Jump 2 times and touch your toes.” (If they do the task correctly they get to move forward to the next lily pad.)
- “Answer this question: Where do farm animals live?” (If they respond correctly they get to move forward to the next lily pad.)
- “Answer this question: What color is a panda bear?” (If they respond correctly they get to move forward to the next lily pad.)
Kettlebell or Weight Workouts
If you like kettlebell or weight workouts, try this! While you are working out using your kettlebells or weights, have your child use children’s kettlebells or weights, soup cans, or any child friendly object so that they can work out with you as well. During each rep, have your child repeat a target phrase and/or word that they are working to perfect. For example:
- Window: Win- (up) -dow (down)
- Necklace: Neck- (up) -lace (down)
- Water: Wa- (up) -ter (down)
- Bucket: Bu- (up) -cket (down)
- Bacon: Ba- (up) -con (down)
This task can be done indoor or outdoors. Jumping rope allows you to target phoneme segmentation or syllable segmentation with each jump. You can alternatively target word segmentation (when learning to produce a multisyllabic word). For example:
- Real (jump)
- Pract- (jump)
- ice (jump)
- Gets (jump)
- Real (jump)
- Re- (jump)
- sults (jump)
While not technically an exercise, this can be a fun way to get your kids up and moving! Families can incorporate a different version of this to ‘find’ different items around the house. You place specific toys around the house, with tasks (written on post-it notes or index cards) along with them. These tasks can include things such as:
- Jump 5 times
- Say “bucket” 10 times
- Clap your hands 3 times
- Say “water” 5 times
Feel free to use whatever sounds or words your child is currently working on in speech therapy for kids. Then tell your child you’re going to play a fun game called “Find Your (Animal) Friend.”
- Start by asking your child to go find the Owl.
- When your child finds the Owl, read the post-it note: “Great job! Now, say the word ‘Owl’ five times, then go and find the Giraffe.”
- Continue with different animals or toys.
Be sure to target language goals, like working on consonants, the “R” or “F” sounds, etc. For example, the Giraffe is a great toy to use for practicing “R.”
Yoga for speech practice
Parents often use yoga as a way to relax amidst their daily routines and schedules. You can invite your child to practice yoga with you. During yoga, children of all ages can target speech therapy goals. For example:
- Hold a speech sound: While both you and your child are holding a yoga pose, hold a speech sound (such as /m/) for the period of the pose. This is a task that can target voice, speech sounds, and breath support.
- Drill: While in a downward dog pose, use a ‘drill method’ to target a list of vocabulary words. Repeat a target word for a specific amount of times while holding the pose. You can also target a list of specific words, moving through the list as you hold the poses.
Rewards for speech therapy practice
“Should I reward my child when they practice their speech?”
We often receive this question from parents. Rewards come in many forms. Not all rewards have to be tangible and/or unhealthy. You can even come up with the next task as a reward once you have gauged interest from your child.
Online speech therapy for kids
At Better Speech, we know that you deserve ideas and therapy that works for you and your family. We have experts in your child’s speech needs and assign the right therapist; not just the therapist that happens to be in your area. ,Schedule a free consultation for online speech therapy for toddlers with one of our dedicated speech-language pathologists today!