Working on speech and language goals requires thinking outside of the box from time to time. Children learn well when you involve their senses, so incorporating this can be beneficial. Children that are shyer about their speech will often open up more when actively engaged in an activity and exploring items for fun holidays. Halloween is a great opportunity to combine the two together.
Halloween Sensory Bin
All of the wonders of Halloween can be incorporated into a fun filled activity for children of different ages. Use a giant plastic container, shoebox size or a bit larger, that can be placed onto a table top or floor for group sessions. Begin by filling it with items that are spooky, engaging, and nice talking points.
Some suggestions to get started. Bags of dried black beans work well for everything else to be mixed into. If you want to add a little orange grab a bag of orange lentils. You may add almost any items to this base to add different sensory experiences. Check out dollar stores and Halloween sections of retail stores for fun ideas. Add in little plastic critters, spider rings, eraser ghosts, holiday sequins, and other Halloween crafting goodies that could be utilized.
Allow children to explore the mixed up items. Have them use words to describe what they find. Younger children can play a mixed up version of “I Spy” or sort and find items that are similar. Think about key words, sounds, and vocabulary, and mix them into the bins for older kids.
Pumpkin Dough Time
Using play dough is a lot of fun and can get kids chatting and playing while homing in on important speech and language skills. There are a lot of easy to make pumpkin play dough recipes available. No Time for Flash Cards has a recipe that could be made ahead of time, or as part of a project together. Once the dough is ready, be creative and come up with activities for the children you work with. A few possibilities include:
- Make fall shapes
- Create pumpkin faces
- Tell stories about items you create
- Explain the sequence needed for someone to make your shape
- Use fall items like pumpkin seeds, acorns, leaves, and other items to make a creature
Remember to tie into families at home. Always share what you are doing with their children. Some may be interested in making their own sensory boxes at home, or playing with pumpkin dough. When finished, you may send a baggie of the dough home with the children to practice with adults and have the recipe for them to make more. Be sure to ask whether families have Halloween or fall traditions that are important to their multilingual identities.