When our son first came to us, we basically didn't understand anything he said. What we had lovingly referred to as "Mush Mouth" turned into issues that made it nearly impossible to decipher his limited words, leading to several years of speech therapy. However, 6 years later and we are still struggling to understand what our child is talking about... but this time we found out that it is because of limited vocabulary, poor reading comprehension, and struggles with his working memory. Language therapy is now the new prescription, on top of the numerous other therapies and techniques we've been told to work into his weekly routine.
Quite frankly, it can be daunting to look at his schedule of doctor's appointments, medications, evaluations, and therapies... and if I'm daunted, I can only imagine how my son feels at age 12! So when I was contacted by a sweet woman from education.com and she presented me with a way to practice his language and verbal skills in a fun, less intimidating way, I was all in! And that's why I wanted to share this activity with you, too. Maybe you have a youngster with learning disabilities, speech/language therapy, reading difficulties, etc. Maybe you're looking for a way to spend quality time connecting to your child by using a bit of education (because who doesn't like to kill two birds with one stone, right?) If this is you, I encourage you to try this activity and take a look at some of the other game-based learning lessons their website has to offer.
You never know when a little bit of learning could turn into a little bit of fun as well!
It’s a game . . . it’s phonics practice – no, it’s Building Words! If your youngster has a hard time remembering key vocabulary words, help him learn in style with a game that is as fun as it is educational. Change up the themes to accommodate holidays and family events to create a game that can be enjoyed throughout the year.
What You Need:
- Construction paper
- Colored pencils
- Scratch paper
- White board
What You Do:
- Help your child cut out squares from the construction paper. The squares should all be about the same size, but the actual dimensions don’t matter. Just make sure that the squares are at least bigger than a square inch.
- Use a pen to write one consonant letter on every paper square. Each consonant in the alphabet should be written at least once.
- Decide if this round of Building Words will have a theme. Themes can be inspired by the current season or an upcoming holiday -- even a favorite movie!
- Encourage your child to decorate the paper squares with the colored pencils. Remind him to keep the theme in mind as he colors.
- Shuffle the squares together.
- Give your child five of the squares, a sheet of scratch paper and a pencil.
- Write down one vowel.
- Start the timer. Your child has one minute to write down as many words as possible using the consonants on his squares and the vowel on the board.
- When the timer goes off, tell your child to set his pencil down.
- Look over the words he wrote down and correct any possible spelling issues. Ask him to tell you what each word means.
- Count up his score, awarding one point per word. He also gets a point for each correct definition.
- For themed rounds, award an extra point for words that relate to the theme. That means he can earn up to three points from a single word.
- To play another round, hand out five new squares and write down a new vowel.
Building Words is even more fun as a group game! Invite the whole family to take part in a round. For bigger groups, just create more consonant squares.