Category: blog

February Sports!

As we gear up for two big sporting events in February, many people will be talking about the super bowl and the winter olympics.  Not everyone is interested in participating in a conversation about sports, so I’ve developed some questions to make talking about sports more interesting. Super Bowl Questions: What is the NFL? What NFL team is from your state? How many teams are in the NFL? Where will the  NFL play offs be held in 2014? When is the super bowl? What two teams will be playing in the super bowl? What states are the two teams from? Winter Olympics: What events are in the winter olympics? In what city will the winter olympics be held? In what […]

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Time Capsule

The first week of January, is a good time to reflect on the past year and an excellent time to work on language skills.  A fun activity for you and your family is to make a time capsule for the year 2013. You can use a snack tube (Pringles container) or jar and choose any items you want to decorate the outside of it.  While decorating your container, make sure you talk about what decorations you are using and why.  To fill the inside, you can use family photos, tickets from trips, memorabilia, or anything else that can symbolize events from the past year. This is a great time to work on summarizing and sequencing as well as using the […]

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Museum Free Days!

The Museum of Science and Industry is my favorite Chicago museum. They currently have a new Walt Disney exhibit that I look forward to visiting. Going to museums with a family can be pricey, but here are some Free Days for Chicago museums: Adler Planetarium: free general admission with valid Illinois id on December: 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17 Art Institute of Chicago: children 14 and under receive free admission always; Illinois residents get free admission Thursdays from 5-8pm Chicago Children’s Museum: free admission for everyone Thursday evenings 5-8 pm, free admission for all ages under 15 the first Sunday of every month Chicago History Museum: free admission for Illinois residents January 20th, with free special […]

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Winter Words!

Brr…brr…brr…As winter approaches, many words come to mind-boots, hats, melting, mittens, chilly, cold, snow, wet, hot chocolate, etc.  Can you think of other winter words?  Here are some activities to build language skills. Look in a magazine for clothing items you wear in winter. Have your child describe his or her favorite winter item. Name foods that are chilly. Make hot chocolate with your child.  Have your child tell you the important steps. Compare and contrast winter clothes.  mittens versus gloves or hats versus earmuffs Find a winter craft to do. Make a list of winter sports. Have your child draw a picture of a favorite winter memory. Ask your child to think of winter words that start with each […]

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Making Snowmen Inside Too!!

  When I think of winter, I think of snow, which makes me want to make a snowman. Winter is the perfect time to build a snowman out of actual snow outside, but if you want to stay warm indoors, you can also make a snowman inside! You can use marshmallows, shaving cream, construction paper, cream cheese, or many other foods, gels, or craft materials. Making a snowman, using whatever materials you decide on, is an excellent language activity. Concepts you can focus on include: Size concepts -You can use words like small, medium, and big -You can also use comparatives (bigger, smaller) and superlatives (biggest, smallest) Sequencing -Talk about the activity, as you are completing it and once you […]

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Frozen Bubbles

  Bubbles are always fun to blow, but did you know that you can blow bubbles in the winter too?  You can use regular bubble solution and a bubble wand to blow icy bubbles outside on a cold day.  Alternatively, you can make your own bubble solution with water and liquid soap. A wide range of speech and language areas can be targeted including: Articulation -You can work on bilabial sounds (sounds we make with both lips, including p, b, m) Social Skills -You can work on turn-taking Increasing the length of utterances -You can work on combining words (I want bubbles, more bubbles please) Basic Concepts -You can work on concepts including: high, low, up, down, one, many Oral-Motor […]

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Tar Heel Reader

  Tar Heel Reader is a fun and easy to use website that lets you make your own short books with pictures AND lets you look at other people’s books. The literacy center teamed up with the computer studies department at UNC-Chapel Hill to make it and I have been using it since graduate school. To search for and look at books made by other people, all you need to do is type the search terms and voila! You can look at any of the books, print them, or have the computer read them aloud to you and the child(ren). These books have been written by people all over the world and you can find books written in different language.  […]

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Magic Tricks!

Magic tricks can be a fun activity to target language skills.  As your child learns the magic trick, he or she can share the new trick with a friend or family member.  There also is a great deal of communication happening during the task, such as problem solving, following directions, etc.  After learning the magic trick, your child could perform the magic trick in front of the family.  Taking pictures or recording the magic trick will help your child with his or her narrative skills and sequencing skills, too! Check out the magic tricks at the link below: http://www.kidzone.ws/magic/

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Cooking can be fun!

Cooking activities are a fun and an interactive way to build language skills, such as following directions, describing skills, sequencing skills, and social skills.  Language skills can be indirectly targeted through the whole cooking process from start to finish.  I found a recipe to make fortune cookies.  Here are some ideas to target language skills, while eating fortune cookies.  Write a number, a letter, a category, or a kind word on a piece of paper.  After the fortune cookies are done baking, grab a fortune cookie to see the surprise.  If your child picks the number five, have your child count to five.  If you decide to put  a kind word in your fortune cookie (i.e. loving, kind, funny), have […]

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Graphic Organizers

Comparing and contrasting…sequencing…identifying story components…and writing paragraphs can appear overwhelming without a structured process. A graphic organizer is a tool to help a child organize information.  If your child is reading a book, a graphic organizer can be used to organize story components (i.e. characters, setting, problem, resolution).  This tool allows the child to extract important information from his or her reading and organize the information, which will help the child answer comprehension questions.  If your child is writing a paragraph, a graphic organizer can be used to help generate a topic sentence, sentences with details, and a conclusion sentence.  One of the more popular graphic organizers is called Inspiration.

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