Happy Spring! The weather is finally starting to warm up here in NC and my kiddos have been so excited for some fun outdoor/spring activities. Easter is on Sunday and regardless if you celebrate, you can use plastic eggs for several fun activities that target speech and language development. Just don’t blame us when you find plastic eggs hidden in your hard 6 months later. All of these activities are simple, engaging and most of all, fun! Check them all out below.
1. Following directions and spatial relationships
Wouldn’t it be nice if our kids would follow our directions all the time? I can’t ensure that this activity will always help with that, but I can guarantee that they will at least have fun and learn about spatial relationships while following directions. You wouldn’t typically give clues on an egg hunt since the point is for kids to find them on their own, but with this type of egg hunt we are focusing on following directions and teaching positional words. All you need for this activity is plastic eggs and a space to hide them. Outside is great, but you can also use any room in your house. Hide eggs in different spatial positions (on top, under, beside, behind and in front): under the couch, behind the tree, on top of the table, beside the slide. Tell them you’ve hidden some eggs, but that you are going to guide them to the eggs with your words. Make sure they turn on their listening ears to be sure they can follow your commands. Give them clues such as: "This egg in under the couch." If they look in the wrong spot, you can model by getting down and looking under the couch yourself. This will teach them what under means. See if they can follow your commands and if they understand what each spatial relationship means. This game is great for developing receptive language (what your child understands). If you have older kiddos, have them hide the eggs and give you the directions or allow an older child to give the directions to your younger one.
2. Color match
Over the years, many parents have told me they get frustrated trying to teach their children colors. I think this is usually because they are trying to teach them expressively (verbally), before they understand colors receptively. These activities target receptive language (their understanding) of colors by having them match them rather than name them. Of course you will model the colors verbally so they learn the color names, but most kids will learn to match and identify colors by pointing before they can name them verbally.
Color Match Activity 1: Egg Bin Match
-box or plastic bin
Take several plastic eggs and separate the tops from the bottom. Mix them up in the box or bin. Model for your child how to match the bottom and the top of the egg with the same color. You can say, “I matched blue” or “I put the pink top with the pink bottom.” After you’ve matched a couple, ask them if they can match one. Hand them a purple top and say, “Can you match the purple top with the bottom?” Continue matching until they’ve done them all and repeat as long as they are interested. Matching colors is the first step in learning them. If they match the color incorrectly, simply tell them, “You chose yellow, we are looking for purple.” Help them find the correct match if the need assistance. Once they've matched all the eggs, you can ask them to point to the different colors or name each color for them as you point.
Color Matching Activity 2: Egg carton match up
The first step in this activity is coloring the bottom of the egg carton the colors of the plastic eggs. I chose 6 colors, so I used each color twice in the egg carton. Model how to match the colors first and then give your child the opportunity to match themselves. If they are unable to complete the task themselves, you can help guide them to the correct spot.
This is definitely the simplest activity and one you may already do when hunting eggs. Make sure to count the eggs as your children find them or at the end of the hunt. The more that you model counting and one to one correspondence, the faster your child will pick up these concepts. Children are often very excited about egg hunts and that motivation to find the eggs may also increase their willingness to count. You can also give them a number to work towards. “ Let’s see if we can find 10 eggs.” Start counting and then pause and let them fill in the remaining numbers. “Let’s see how many eggs you found. One, two, ____.” Give older children a goal and then ask them how many more they need to find to reach their goal. “You have 6, how many more do we need to reach 12?” This activity targets expressive language.
4. Sound practice
I’ve been using sound practice egg hunts as an activity with my speech therapy clients all week. They have LOVED it. It’s a great way to keep kids moving and engaged in therapy. If your child is struggling with a particular sound, cut out pictures of words with the target sound and hide them in eggs. Hide some treats or stickers in several of them too to break up the practice a bit and keep them motivated. Next hide the eggs around your yard or house and have your child find them. Once they’ve found all the eggs, have them practice the words with the target sound after opening the eggs. This is a great way to drill them with word practice but still keep it fun.