Engaging Speech Therapy Activities for Kids: Focus on Articulation

Written by Team TE

June 10, 2024

Content By: Julia Ambrose | Therapeutic Endeavors Intern

Articulation disorders, where children have difficulty pronouncing certain sounds, are common issues addressed in speech therapy. Effective and enjoyable activities can significantly aid children in improving their articulation skills. Here, we will delve into specific articulation-focused activities that parents and therapists can use to help children develop clearer speech.

1. Sound-Specific Articulation Cards

Articulation cards are a staple in speech therapy, especially when focusing on specific sounds that children find challenging. These cards typically have pictures and words that contain the target sound, making practice more engaging.

How to Use Articulation Cards:

  • Flashcard Drills: Show the child a card and have them say the word. Repeat several times to reinforce the correct pronunciation.
  • Memory Game: Lay the cards face down and play a memory matching game. When a match is found, the child says the word out loud, practicing the target sound.
  • Story Creation: Use a set of cards to create a simple story. For example, if the target sound is “s,” and the cards show a sun, snake, and star, the child might say, “The snake slithered under the star while the sun was shining.”

Activities for Better Communication

3. Articulation Games

Games can make articulation practice more engaging and less tedious. Here are a few games tailored to specific sounds:

Fishing for Sounds:

  • Materials Needed: A toy fishing rod, paper fish with pictures of words containing the target sound, and a small magnet on each fish.
  • How to Play: The child uses the fishing rod to catch a fish. Once they catch one, they say the word on the fish, focusing on the target sound. This game adds a physical activity component, making practice dynamic and fun.

Articulation Jenga:

  • How to Play: Write target words or sounds on each Jenga block. As the child pulls out a block, they must say the word or sound correctly before placing the block on top. This game combines articulation practice with a steady hand and concentration, making it both challenging and enjoyable.
  • Materials Needed: A Jenga set and a marker

 Activities for Better Communication

Phoneme Isolation and Blending Activities

Breaking down sounds within words (phoneme isolation) and blending sounds together to form words are critical skills in articulation therapy.

Phoneme Isolation:

  • Activity: Use objects or pictures that start with the target sound. Have the child identify and isolate the initial, medial, or final sound in the word. For example, for the sound “b,” use a picture of a “ball” and ask the child what sound they hear at the beginning.

Blending Sounds:

  • Activity: Slowly say the sounds in a word and have the child blend them together to form the word. For example, say “/b/ – /a/ – /l/” and the child blends the sounds to say “ball.”

5. Storytelling with Target Sounds

Creating stories that incorporate the target sounds can help children practice in a more natural and enjoyable context.

Steps for Storytelling:

  • Choose a Theme: Pick a theme that interests the child, such as animals, space, or adventures.
  • Incorporate Target Sounds: Ensure the story includes multiple instances of the target sound. For example, if working on the “sh” sound, a story might involve a ship, a shark, and a shop.
  • Interactive Storytelling: Encourage the child to participate by adding details or creating their own sentences using the target sound. This makes the practice more interactive and engaging.

Articulation practice doesn’t have to be boring or repetitive. By incorporating fun and specific activities, children can improve their speech sounds while enjoying the process. These activities—ranging from using articulation cards and mirror work to engaging games and storytelling—offer varied and effective ways to make speech therapy both productive and enjoyable for kids. Parents and therapists alike can use these strategies to help children develop clear and confident speech.

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