Slimy Speech!

Slime making kits are everywhere in stores. My own kids beg to make slime all the time, and the children I see in therapy love my “speech slime days”. Not only is slime a great sensory activity, I have also found tons of ways to incorporate speech and language activities into our sessions using slime. Here are 4 of my favorite speech-language slime activities:

Following Directions

If your child is able to read, have them read the instructors out loud and follow the directions to make the slime. If your child is not yet able to read, you can even draw simple pictures (or use pictures from the box) to help them follow the directions to make the slime.

If you buy pre-made slime, have your child follow 1 or 2-step directions to add items to the slime. Examples: Get the green glitter and add 1 teaspoon of slime. Put half of the slime in the container and give the other half to your brother.

Making slime is also great for measuring/math skills!

Identifying Items

Kids love “hiding” items in the slime. This is a great opportunity to work on identification of items. You can use small toy farm or zoo animals (Put the “cow” in. Put the “zebra” in). I also love to use small toy furniture, small food items, and plastic letters. Dollar stores or dollar sections in stores often have tons of great, cheap items to use.

If you need to increase the difficulty level, have them identify items using a variety of modifiers (i.e. Put the small, pink pig in. Put the big, blue chair in. Put two pigs and one cow in.)

Expressive Language

I usually get great expressive language from kids when they are playing with slime. It is so easy to target a variety of adjectives to describe how the slime feels: slimy, sticky, wet, gross, gooey, mushy, squishy, etc. You can also use adjectives to describe how it looks and smells (add a few drops of juice, flavor packets, or essential oil to add extra smelly fun).

Having your child describe how the slime was made is a great sequencing and retell activity. Use pictures to help them if necessary. They can describe what they did first, next, and last.

Speech/Articulation

To incorporate speech/articulation activities, collect items that have your child’s target sounds. For example, if they are working on “r”, I might have a small car, fork, rainbow eraser, rabbit, jar, robot, bird, ring, rock, dinosaur, or any other “r” item (either the real item or a laminated photo work great).  Sometimes, I mix in items that do not have their target sound to see if they can determine which words contain their target sound. After I hide the items in the slime, I ask the kids to find as many “r’ items as possible. Then, we practice saying the words.

I hope you enjoy these fun, speech-language activities with your children as much as they enjoy them!

-Jessica M. Lenden-Holt M.A. CCC-SLP

Get to the Library!

Children spend plenty of time in virtual worlds with apps and television, but how about walking them into a real world of stories and imagination- your local public library! Public libraries create sections dedicated to children, tweens, and teens. Media specialists bring books to life with displays and special reading days.  Books will always be a source for developing and expanding language. Many of the goals that we target in therapy can be directly related to reading: phonological and phonemic awareness, letter sound correspondence, letter identification, rhyming, and vocabulary, just to list a few! Head over to the section of books that interest your child. Allow your child to explore the books by picking them up, looking at the cover and opening to the pictures. Tell your child to pick out a book- or three! As you sit with your child, hold up a book. Let your child touch the book and turn the pages. Talk about the cover of the book. With young children use phrases like “Turn the Page, Look, See the bear, Touch the bear’s nose.” With elementary school-aged children ask “What do you think this book will be about? Why do you think this will be a good story? What made you choose this book?”

Read the story with animation and make the book fun! You can use different voices and facial expressions that will help your child stay engaged with the story. As you go through the story, expand on the pictures by naming, talking about colors and other attributes of the pictures, and use this opportunity to introduce new vocabulary words. Ask your child to guess what might happen next in the story. After you read the story, talk about your favorite part of the book and encourage your child to do the same. Ask questions about the story. When you get home, have your child retell the story to a family member. 

Go on your local public library website and check out all of the recommended books, fun activities, and dedicated events for kids. Here in Knoxville, there are story times for each age group such as “Baby Bookworms, Toddler Storytime, and Preschool Storytime.” There is a section on the library website dedicated to teenagers including homework help, Game Nights, and “Teens Talk Books” which is a book club that meets for 13-17 year olds.  Summer programs are available which encourage reading by giving prizes to kids for reading books. Your local library is a perfect place to introduce your child to countless stories of every interest, art, science, math, history, imagination, new vocabulary, engaging in a group reading situation, and social interaction with other kids. Our libraries teach, enrich, and build language! Check out of the screens and into a book!

If you feel like your child may be struggling in the areas of language and literacy, please contact our office. We would love to talk to you!

Margie Busby, M.S., CCC-SLP