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Using Household Items to Promote Language Development

Preschool-aged children using household items in play

If you have been home as long as me, I am sure you are trying to figure out new ways to keep your kiddos engaged and happy at home! Many of my friends panicked and starting order a bunch of toys, games and books, but I bet you have a TON of items around your house that you can use new ways! Here are some of the items that we used last week and the skills that we worked on:

  1. Painter’s Tape: Painter’s tape has become an essential item in my house right now, and it can provide hours of entertainment. You can create all sorts of activities for just about any age! Here are some ideas:
    • Create shapes on the floor using the tape and send your kids on a scavenger hunt! See if they can find a certain number of items that match each shape! For example, a toy donut would go in the circle and a book would go in the square (or rectangle). 
    • Take your child’s picture cards from speech therapy (or flashcards) and tape them to the wall. Turn out the lights and try to find the pictures/cards using just a flashlight! You can work on your child’s speech sound, vocabulary and reading readiness skills (e.g. rhyming, letter/sound correspondence, etc.)  
  2. Toilet paper and paper towel rolls: You can create your own marble run using toilet paper and paper towel rolls, painter’s tape and a big open wall! This activity promotes problem solving and cooperative play. For the marbles, you can use pom poms, bouncy balls or just about anything that’s small enough to roll inside! 
  3. Cups, funnels, spoons and Tupperware: Create your very own sensory tables! This activity is great for toddlers and preschoolers who are working on developing vocabulary, requesting, and combining words. You can use water, rice, pom poms or water beads! If you choose to use water, add soap and toy animals the next day to change it up. Keep the same activity enticing and new by adding food coloring. The options are endless! 
  4. Combine toys for new play opportunities: It’s so fun to see how kids come up with new ways to play with their own toys. Combining toys leads to new vocabulary and new play schemes! Last week my daughter took her jumbo cardboard boxes and her animal figures and created a zoo with all different exhibits. We talked about which animals could share an exhibit (e.g. a dolphin and a fish could go together because they both live in the water). Other toy combinations may include:
  5. Paper bags or shoe boxes: We created our very own town using gift bags and brown paper lunch bags. We made a grocery store, a shoe shop, a toy store and even a dentist office! We drew items that were associated with each place and decorated the boxes/bags using ribbons, bows, and beads. This is a great activity for working on spatial concepts, word associations and developing pretend play. 

Let us know what household items you have been using at home to keep your children entertained!  

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