#360 Easter Therapy Activities for Late Talking Toddlers
On this episode, listen as I share LOTS of ideas for using plastic Easter eggs in speech therapy this spring. You’ll hear activities for every developmental level beginning below 12 months all the way through toddlerhood.
Sensory Easter Eggs
Make Sensory Easter Eggs by placing rice, pasta, beans, or even coins inside the egg and then gluing or taping the egg together. Help a child explore the egg and learn to listen as she shakes the egg. Model excitement and curiosity as you sit with the child and manipulate the eggs too. Try new actions – roll the egg across the floor, drop it in a container (basket, bucket, or bowl), and practice handing the egg back and forth with the child. After the child has initially explored the eggs, teach a longer play routine. Dump eggs out of the container using a verbal routine such as, “1…2…3…Dump! Whee! Out! Eggs out!” Put the eggs back in the container as you say, “In. In. In. In.” Repeat the entire play routine as you say the same words. In this activity, you’re targeting object exploration, building attention, and turn taking.
Easter Eggs and A Wipe Box
Play with Easter Eggs and an empty baby wipe container. Get a wipe container with an opening in the lid. Show the child how to push the eggs through the hole. Establish a cute verbal routine with single words and short phrases. Say something like, “Egg. See? Push! In!” Repeat with all of the eggs. When the box is full, shake the box and say, “Listen! Shake! Shake! Shake! I hear it! Eggs! Let’s get them out!” Dump the eggs out with a cute verbal routine such as, “1…2…3…Whee!” Repeat the routine using your same words. Pause to see if a child will fill in a word
like “3” or “Whee” after you’ve said the same words many, many times. In this activity, you’re targeting cognition by working on object permanence (The egg is in the box, even if a child can’t see it), cause and effect (Push the egg in and it disappears. Push it half way and it’s stuck.) and problem solving (How to get the egg in and out of the box.) You’re also establishing cute verbal routines to use in this activity as well as the following one…
Make an Easter Egg Box by cutting holes of various sizes in the sides a larger cardboard box. Show a child how to push the eggs through the holes in the box. Establish a cute verbal routine with single words and short phrases. Use the one above or come up with something new like, “Eggs go in! Bye bye egg!” This activity will be especially FUN using many, many eggs with small groups of children in daycare, group sessions, or even siblings at home. Once the children have explored and played with the box, introduce a “racing” kind of game. Place the box across the room and show the children how to run get an egg from a bucket or container and then run back to shove it in the hole in the box. In this activity, you’re targeting using single words and verbal routines as well as building attention, task completion, and social interaction with peers.
Hide and Find Eggs
Teach a child how to hide and find Easter eggs. Even at this developmental level, you can begin to play
with Easter eggs in more traditional ways by hiding the eggs in obvious places. To begin, give a child a bucket or basket to hold. Hide one or two eggs in very obvious places as the child watches you. Say, “I’m hiding an egg. Look! Right here! It’s in the chair.” Approach the child and say, “Where’s the egg? Let’s go find it.” If the child doesn’t immediately go get the egg, point to help him remember where the egg is. If he still doesn’t go retrieve the egg, take the child’s hand and help him find the egg saying something like, “Look! Here it is! I got it! I got it! Egg!” Help him place the egg in his basket or bucket. Repeat the play routine and gradually hide one or two more eggs as the child’s interest and memory allow. I also love to use this game to target vowel variation by using words that begin with vowel sounds since many prepositions (in, out, on, off, up) begin with vowels. For example, you’d say, “Where’s the egg? It’s on. On the table. On! Take it off. Off the table. Off!” Find out more about this goal in FUNctional Phonology. In this activity, you’re working on cognition (memory for where the eggs are located), receptive language by following directions with prepositions (such as in, on, etc…), saying new words with prepositions, using holistic phrases (as the child says, “I got it!” every time he finds an egg), and vowel differentiation.
Match and Sort Eggs
Match and sort Easter eggs for color or size or pattern. These kinds of tasks are great for older toddlers and preschoolers with language delays who also need help learning these important cognitive concepts and who have limited attention spans. Many children with limited attention spans don’t know how to play with toys yet and need very structured tasks to begin to participate in any kind or organized activity. an empty egg carton to provide more structure and a definitive starting and ending point for the task. For another variation, place colored pieces of construction paper on the floor so that you’re matching eggs to the paper. This game is a fun “racing” game for individual toddlers or groups of young children. Place paper or containers on the other side of the room. Let a child request an egg using a sign or word such as more, please, egg, or the color of the egg if he already knows colors. I don’t teach color words with this kind of task with late talkers since those kids should be learning other more functional words first. In this activity, you’re targeting cognitive skills as well as other language goals you add with requesting.
Open and Close Eggs
Practice opening and closing Easter eggs. Show a child how to open the Easter egg and then close it again. Use simple language as you’re playing together. Teach action words/verbs such as open, close or shut, pull, and push. Once you’ve shown a child how to open and close the eggs, open all the eggs and let him find the matching end. You could also set this up in an egg carton or muffin tin by placing half of an egg in the container. Show the child how to find the matching half and then place it on top. In this activity, you’re working on fine motor skills, cognitive skills with matching, and new actions words/verbs.
Hide a variety of small objects in the Easter eggs and open the eggs together. Because you’re using small items which may be a choking hazard, close adult supervision is required for this activity! To begin the activity, hide the eggs around the room and find them together. When you find all the eggs (or one egg at a time if a child is super eager to open the eggs), pick up an Easter egg, shake it and say something like, “I hear something! Listen! Something is in this egg. Let’s open.” Talk about the object repeating its name many times and encouraging the child to repeat the new word. Remember, unless a child has named an object previously, it’s very unlikely he will name the object as you ask, “What’s that?” Many children will need to hear the word many, many times during the task before they can say the word. If a child doesn’t immediately name the object as you open the egg, say the object’s name such as, “Wow! It’s a ball! Ball!” Many children may respond to the completion or cloze method as you say, “Wow! It’s… a…” and wait expectantly for the child to fill in the familiar word. Set up requesting more eggs with all-purpose words or signs such as “more” and “please” or even a specific request for “egg.” For children who are working on articulation or phonological goals, include items in the eggs with the target sound or pattern. Small pictures may be useful here if the child likes to color, but real objects are more fun for toddlers! In this activity, you’re working on receptive and expressive language, as well as articulation and intelligibility.
Cute Social Game
Play a social game for Easter with the child and one or more other people. Gather a few plastic Easter eggs and an Easter basket or bucket. Sit on the floor in a circle. Place the Easter container in the middle of the circle. Hold an egg and tell the children you’re going to play a game. Pass the egg from person to person around the circle as you sing to the tune of “Frere Jacques” or “Where Is Thumbkin?”
“Pass the egg. Pass the egg.
All around. All around.
Easter is coming. Easter is coming.
To our town. To our town.”
The child who is holding the egg at the end of the song gets to place the egg in the basket. Repeat until every child has had a chance to place an egg in the basket. Teach new vocabulary by using this song with other items related to Easter such as a bunny, a carrot, a smaller Easter basket, etc… In this activity, you’re working on social interaction, joint attention, vocalization, and any other language goal.
Hope this will help you plan some fun ideas over the next couple of weeks! Happy Easter!