Teach a Child to Vocalize…Therapy Tip of the Week 10.27.19

Do you need a “trick” for teaching a child to make sounds on request? Many late talkers can’t do this yet, but you may have more success than you ever dreamed with this easy activity. Even better, you can adapt it for Halloween.
This activity is from my new book Let’s Talk About Talking. (If you’ve wanted to see a sample page, here is it!) Read step-by-step directions for teaching a child to make sounds purposefully, one of the 11 prerequisite skills toddlers master before words emerge:



In this activity, a child learns to vocalize with early, easy sounds.

How to Play and What to Say:
Select a container such as a plastic bucket, a metal bowl, or a large pot. My favorite container for this activity is a plastic jack-o-lantern or pumpkin that children use to collect Halloween candy. Many stores sell these little buckets and plastic containers for other holidays too like Valentine’s Day and Easter.

Sit on the floor or anywhere that’s eye level and face-to-face with a toddler. Call her name to get her attention and then say something like, “Look!”

Lean over and place your mouth just above the opening of the container and model a sound.

In the beginning, make this as easy as possible for her. Think of something you hear her say regularly. It could be a sound effect like an animal sound or a car noise. If she’s a frequent crier, pretend to cry into the container. Or try babbling or using a syllable or word attempt she tries to say. For example, if she says “da” for that or for Daddy, model that sound in the bucket a few more times. Elongated vowels like “ah” and “ooo” work well for this too.

Try to maintain eye contact with her as you produce the sound so that she’s focused on you and paying attention.

If you liked this activity, you’ll find over 100+ more therapy ideas just like this one in my new book Let’s Talk About Talking…Ways to Strengthen the 11 Skills All Toddlers Master Before Words Emerge. 

Watch a Therapy Tip of the Week with this strategy:



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