Looking for creative ways to target your child’s speech and language goals at home? All you need is... shaving cream, a big bowl, and a handful of washable objects! Hide small toys and household objects in a bowl of shaving cream to target a wide variety of goals! This activity is especially fun in the summertime when you can wash off afterward with a hose or sprinkler!
Practicing Speech Sounds: Find some objects that contain your child’s speech sound. For example, if your child is working on the initial /k/ sound, you can hide a toy cat, car, cart, cup, kid, cow, key, king, coin, and comb!
Building Phrase Length: If your child is speaking in single words, model two-word phrases such as “see dog,” “white dog,” or “little dog.” If your child is speaking in two-word phrases, model three-word phrases such as “I see dog,” “Pick up dog,” or “Clean up dog."
Practice Describing: Have your child describe what the object looks like, what it feels like, and what it is used for. You can use the “Expanding Expression Tool” (EET) as a visual support for this activity.
Working on Categories: Try hiding a few objects that fit into a few different categories in the shaving cream (e.g., toy animals, dollhouse furniture, toy food) and see if your child can sort them out!
Answering WHAT Questions: Ask your child “What did you find?”
Asking WHAT Questions: You can take turns with the shaving cream and encourage your child to ask, “What did you find?” or “What does it feel like?”
Making Inferences or “Smart Guesses”: Have your child close their eyes and feel the object with their hands. Have them make a guess about what it might be. You can preview the objects before you put them in the shaving cream to make this activity easier.
Practice Pronouns: While you are playing, model for your child “your turn, “my turn,” “I found,” and “you found."
Using Irregular Past Tense Verbs: This activity is loaded with opportunities for modeling irregular past tense verbs such as found, caught, got, felt, and saw.
Learning about “Expected” and “Unexpected” Behaviors: Talking about expected and unexpected behaviors can be hard, and this activity can be a great way to introduce the concept of “unexpected” in a silly way. When your child pulls out an object, you can model “A pencil in shaving cream? That is unexpected."
If your child doesn’t love the feel of shaving cream, that’s ok! Here are some other ways to target speech and language goals with hidden objects:
Hide objects in a bucket of sand
Hide objects in plastic eggs
Hide objects in an empty tissue box
Hide smaller objects in playdough or putty
Hide objects around the house and go for a scavenger hunt!
Written by Megan Romanczyk, M.S., CF-SLP