It’s almost here! Time for Halloween! Over the next few days, I have a great Halloween speech therapy idea for toddlers.
Most of our little late talking friends (or any toddler for that matter!) will not understand Halloween because it’s brand new. Toddlers learn by DOING, so until they DO Halloween, they won’t understand what’s going on.
We help them.
We can do that by arranging experiences, language-based of course, to introduce young children to new vocabulary and give them an idea of what’s coming up on the big night. In yesterday’s “Did You Know” post, we discussed the concept of building architecture in the brain and the rapid speed for new connections in babies and toddlers, especially when young children are involved in high quality, purposeful interactions with adults.
Books can be a great tool for providing this “pre-Halloween” experience. In this post, I want to show you a darling book that’s perfect for toddlers and preschoolers with language delays. We won’t just read the book (although that’s a good start), but we’ll use the theme and plan some fantastic “doing” activities too with the cute book Spookie Pookie. Watch the Therapy Tip of the Week and read the written summary below:
Watch this week’s Therapy Tip of the Week:
Sandra Boynton is one of my favorite authors. I love that this book is cardboard making it a practical choice for toddlers who still like to destroy pages. In this cute book, Pookie’s mom introduces him to the concept of dressing up for Halloween. He tries on several costumes until he finds one that is just right.
To use this as a therapy activity, keep in mind 3 critical components:
To set up your activity, gather a few items you can use for helping a toddler dress up. Dig out a few costumes from Halloweens-past from your older kids. If that’s not an option, snag a couple of hats, a scarf or two, and bigger boots or fancy shoes. I have a good stash of old costumes for dress up, but this year I added a few new pieces from Dollar Tree: a pirate hat and vest, a cowboy hat (to pair with a stick horse), and a darling witch hat and cape. Those finds fulfill my two requirements for new additions: CUTE and CHEAP!
If you have one, place the clothes in a box so that a child can pull them out, just like in the book.
Read the book first a few times, or just flip through the pages with a child. Point to the key pictures and narrate using corresponding labels for what you’re showing him. Talk about the different costumes and make any connections to any real life experience a child may have had such as, “Look! A banana! Pookie looks like a banana! You ate a banana this morning! Banana!”
After you’ve read the book a few times, start your activity by saying something like, “Do you want to dress up like Pookie?” Then bring out your box and begin the fun!
Remember that typically developing toddlers don’t love dress up activities until they’re 36 months or older, so our little friends with language delays may have an even harder time “getting it.” Know that your introduction will set the stage for lots of play to come.
During play, be sure that you’re talking and having a great time together. Some kids will be ready to move on to pretending. If you’re up for it, give them a jack-o-lantern and help them “practice” the process of “trick or treat” by having them stand outside a door, knock, and then greet the person who opens the door with the standard line of the night: “Trick or treat!”
Some little guys will understand the costume well enough to try to “get into character.” Use exclamatory words or actions to help change the vibe for kids who understand dressing up, but aren’t yet verbal enough to name the costume. For example, if a child is wearing a dinosaur costume, encourage him to “Roar!” If she’s a butterfly or ladybug, pretend to fly around the room.
For some toddlers, the language you teach while putting on the costume will be enough. Teach names of the clothing items. Don’t forget body parts too! Talk about them as in, “Cool hat! Where’s that go? On your head?” If you’re working on pronouns, target “my” vs. “your” as you have a child give you a turn with the prop such as, “Wow! Here’s your pirate hat. Where’s my hat?”
Stay tuned for more Halloween speech therapy ideas for toddlers!
If you want to get the book, it’s linked to amazon.com for your convenience!*
Read more ideas for making books come to life with toddlers in my brand new therapy manual called Let’s Talk About Talking…11 Skills All Toddlers Master Before Words Emerge...shipping in November!
*Disclosure – Amazon affiliate purchases generate a very small commission for teachmetotalk.com.