Hands-on learning games are a great way of helping your child build his expressive language skills. Being able to express one’s self is a crucial skill that affects every aspect of your child’s life. Not being able to explain himself, persuade his listeners, or simply share a funny event because he has an expressive language disorder can seriously impact your child ‘s self-esteem.
Imagine being unable to explain why you had a bad day in class, or why you want to go to a friend’s house. Or, what if you wanted to convince your sister to let you borrow her bike, but you didn’t have the words you needed to persuade her?
You may find your child is easily frustrated, since he can’t use language effectively. He might resort to hitting, kicking, or even biting when he doesn’t get his way, because he cannot use language to help him solve conflicts with others.
The best way to help your child is to give her plenty of opportunities to play with language, in a fun, engaging activity that doesn’t pressure her to produce. This hands-on learning game is perfect as it allows your child to strengthen her language in a totally naturally way, and even lets her use visuals to help get her point across.
In order to play this game, you will need to take a trip first with your child to a fun place. During the trip, make sure to take separate pictures of everyone who goes with you on the trip. You should also take pictures of all the main events. For example, if you go to an amusement park, take a picture of each ride and game that your child plays.
You should also take pictures of your child as they leave the house to go on the trip. If you plan to travel by car, take a picture of your child sitting in the car. You will use all of these pictures to act as cues to help your child tell a story about his trip.
Card stock (to print out the pictures on)
Regular size photo album (to store the pictures in a story format)
How to Play:
- You’re going to make a story of your child’s trip using the pictures you took. First, organize the pictures in the order in which they occurred. You can separate the pictures according to the different events that took place during the trip.
- Your child should sit on the floor or at a large table with plenty of space to move the pictures around. Point to a picture of your child, and ask, “Who’s this?” in a playful manner.
- Place that picture to your child’s left.
- Now take an event picture, and place it to the right of the first picture. You have now created a sentence, only with pictures instead of words.
- Say to your child, “This is – (your child should say his name, or “me ,” if he is able to.) Next point to the event picture, and ask your child to name it.
- Lastly, your child should put the two together : “I rode on the merry-go-round.”
- Underneath the merry-go round picture place another event picture. Point to the picture of your child, prompting him to say, “I rode in the bumper cars.”
- Continue with the rest of the pictures.
Tip: You can make this game harder by letting your child sequence all the pictures himself. Instead of telling you the story bit-by bit with in sentence form, he should first arrange the pictures in story form, and then tell the entire story using his own words.
Don’t forget to reward your child at the end of your learning session! It need not be a large reward, but it should be something that is enticing to your child. It could be a treat, or it could be being allowed to stay up a half-hour past bedtime, or going to a park you don’t usually visit.