Thursday, October 20, 2011

October 2011

I have so many ideas of fun things to do in October to help your child "pop" language :)

If you live where the leaves are falling there are so many things that you can do. You can rake them (and get your child their own little rake) and then "one, two, three, go" you can jump in them!!! You can toss them around and focus on words like "up, down". You can find a bunch of dry leaves and "crunch, crunch, crunch" them up. You can get paper and glue out and stick the leaves to the paper. You can go on a walk and find all the different colors of leaves or just find the trees that have leaves that are not green. You can march through the leaves; you can crunch the leaves with your shoes, you can shuffle in the leaves; you can hide your feet in the leaves, or your hand or your whole body!!! You can make a path through the leaves and walk down the path, or hop or crawl.

One of the best suggestions that I am going to share is one that I learned from another early interventionist. You take a pumpkin, you take some colorful golf tees and find your childs little hammers from the pounding toys they have and you pound the tees into the pumpkin. "bang, bang, bang"; "more tees"; "in and out". Your child will enjoy this process so much. You pound the tees in and then you can take them out and do it again.

Of course taking the seeds out of the pumpkin is fun to explore. If your child has sensory issues this could be a hard one. Let them use a spoon, that might help. But if you have an explorer, let them pull the seeds out with their hands and you can scoop out the insides and put them in a bowl to explore. "Squishy, slippery, stringy" are all fun words that would apply. If they put some in their mouth, please don't say "yuck", let them decide if they like the taste or not (but be careful about choking on the seeds if your child is small).

And of course you can carve the pumpkin and roast the seeds. You can talk about the facial body parts that you are carving "should we cut out the nose or an eye?" and if you use a real candle you can play with having them blow it out several times in a row...great for breath control and to encourage your child to request "more please".

FOOD: YUM!!!! OK, there are caramel apples and caramel dip. There is a new milkshake at McDonalds that is an autumn shake which I would assume might be spicey. Milkshakes are great for improving the muscle strength in your childs mouth. There is pumpkin pie (and dipping the electric toothbrush in this mixture could be a good taste treat, plus wake up the mouth.) There are cakes and cookies and pies with cinnamon and ginger and nutmeg. Let them try apple cider or warm apple juice and maybe even add some cinnamon.

And what about the Halloween candy!?!?!? Licorace and gummy worms are good for muscle development....bite and pull on the sides as well as in front. Pixie stixs powder is one of my favorites to wake up the mouth. Their are that fun dip candy where you dip a hard candy into a powder. Keep your mind open as to ways to use some of the candy to stimulate your childs mouth. Remember, I'm not saying all day, every day. But a couple pixie stixs are not going to hurt your childs health or teeth.

HALLOWEEN: Words that will come easily for your child would be "boo" for ghost; "pumpin" for pumpkin; "cany" for candy. With the trick or treating and costumes realize that small children cannot always tell what is real and what isn't, so be sensitive and aware if your child might be scared. If you want them to participate, maybe let them help you hand out candy, or just ride in a wagon while someone else goes to the doors of the houses.

ART: A child's foot, painted white on the bottom and then pressed on a piece of dark colored paper will look like a ghost. You can add the eyes and open mouth. Or paint both feet and let your child walk across some black paper and you will have many ghosts :)

Give your child some markers to decorate their pumpkin or let them paint a pumpkin. You could dress your pumpkin with a hat and a tie for fun....let your imagination go.

Enjoy this time of year, we are heading into the holiday time; school has started and our lives shift into a different rhythm. Look for the fun in every day and share it with your child.