It may be difficult to get a child’s attention on a task for extended periods of time. Parents and caregivers often struggle to come up with fun and engaging ways to have their child do articulation practices.
Articulation is one of the challenges that children with autism face when they are beginning to speak. It is the ability to correctly produce different sounds. Your child may receive articulation therapy at school when that time comes. This means that they may struggle with certain sounds when it comes to communication. If you feel like your child is struggling with certain sounds in words, there are some fun and entertaining ways to get them engaged with the task at hand.
We have gathered 10 articulation games and activities for you and your child to play to work on problem and target sounds!
Articulation Scavenger Hunt
Take advantage of the good weather when you can! Take your kid outside and explore. You can make a scavenger hunt list with the target articulation sounds.
Have your child say each word and talk about the items while you are looking for them outside. Let your child pronounce the items they found and those they have not. Pick the sounds based on your child’s knowledge and the words and sounds around you outside. For instance, you can use the following sounds find suitable items:
Cootie Catchers/Fortune Tellers
Cootie catchers, or fortune tellers, are not just to give you ideas about the future. They are also a great way to practice with your child sounds and articulation!
This game makes phonics really fun. You can make the templates yourself or search online for amazing, ready-to-be-used ones. If you are going to make yourself one, all you would need is a sheet of paper, a pen, and some colorful images! Or alternatively, you can prepare this on your computer and print them out.
The idea here is to teach the child the phonics of certain sounds in different parts of the word. Here is an example for a cootie catcher that targets the sound /f/:
No matter what you call them, this folded piece of paper will make learning phonics much more fun. This is an amazing way to also learn about and practice blending and segmenting sounds.
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Mouse and Cheese Game
This fun game is another great way to practice articulation. You can just use a pen and a paper or there are websites online to provide you with fun visuals along with your game. Make a list of the words that have target sounds in them and every time you would like to play, pull out one.
Put enough empty spaces for the letters in the selected word. Also draw stairs, with cheese at the bottom and the mouse at the top. Provide your child with a clue as to what this word may be.
Once your child gets the sound right, say the sound once again. The catch is that if your child gets the sound wrong, then the mouse gets a step closer to the cheese. The game is to prevent this! Have your child say the sounds, as well as the word with the target sound.
This would be an amazing time to learn and master sounds! Preparation may take a little bit more time compared to some other ones but it is worth it. You can also combine this activity with another beneficial tool, social stories, making it a double learning activity. Follow these steps with your child:
- For this activity, you will need to gather words with target sounds as well as sentences. These should contain both nouns and verbs, and some adjectives with the target sound. You may include the words you have already learned and been practicing, or you can come up with new ones. Make sure that you have this list of words and the story written so that the child can follow along easily.
- You will now guide your child to ask questions about the story, like “Who is this?”, “What happened next?”, “How did this story end?”.
- You can highlight the words with target sounds in bold or in italic to get the focus on that specific word.
- You can then use this story again to practice more, and have your child master the target sounds!
This activity will be suitable to any story you like. Story aspect will make it easier for your child to understand and make it more interesting for them.
Pizza on the Way!
This is one of the more elaborate activities among articulation games. It also brings together other learning tools in addition to articulation. In this game, you will turn a physical environment into a small town.
You can use masking tape to mark the floor. These will be your roads, and on the side of the roads, you will put houses and street signs. These can be something you make out of cardboards or you may use toys you have lying around and mark them. You will then give each street a name which will contain the target sounds you want your child to master.
Your child can then take the toy car and essentially “deliver” a pizza to the correct house at the correct address you provide them. They will also articulate the street names while driving on one. It is so much fun and a really immersive game!
Catch the Ball
Beach balls are great for this activity as they are already divided into colorful sections. In addition, this activity can be played with multiple children so it is the perfect game to practice with siblings.
Take the balls and write with permanent markers the words with target sounds on each quadrant of the ball. Then, determine a finger to be a designated pointer for the word. For instance, this may be the child’s thumb. Then, toss the ball around! When you yell stop, the child with the ball in their hand will pronounce the word that their thumb is pointing or touching. And this continues on!
Colorful Flash Cards
This activity also requires preparation ahead of time, but once you make the cards or find them online and print them, you will be good to go for a while as they can be used multiple times. If you can laminate them, they will last even longer!
Using visuals on flash cards will help in creating a more engaging exercise. Extra visual support can remind the child how to position their mouth to make the specific target sound on the card. The card will also have an image related to the word being pronounced.
Each card will show how to make the mouth shape to produce the sound. For additional explanation, you may put the mouth shape to a corresponding place on the card, like putting the mouth visual at the beginning of the word when the initial sound of the word is targeted. This will help your child better understand where the target sound is located in the word.
You can start by making a list of words containing target sounds in addition to the words used the most in everyday life. This activity will also improve the child’s vocabulary.
In this fun activity, you can make a list of certain words with target sounds. For instance, if you would like to work on the sound “th”, you will gather words that have this sound in them. Then, you will jumble up the words!
Provide your child with some clue as to what this word may be, and let them know the position of the th sound in the word. Then solve the puzzle with your little hero! You can also use online tools or find printables online to make it easier for you.
This is another activity that you can do outside and it requires no preparation or other tools. Go outside to a park, a playground or even a different street and walk around. This can be done anywhere. Have your child try to find items that contain the target sound and then describe it to you. This could also be done as a group activity!
This game will help with articulation as well as skills like turn-taking and following directions. It is especially beneficial if you are working on /s/ at the sentence level. It is best to play this with a group but you also can accompany your child.
Take turns being Simon. When it’s their turn, have your child try to use as many words with the target sound as possible. For instance, if you are working on /s/, they can say “Simon says make silly sounds”. This will encourage your child to use words with common sounds such as R or S without even knowing!