Moving Matters – Activities to Improve Articulation in Kinesthetic Learners
The last thing a kinesthetic learner probably wants to do is sit at one more desk, listening to and responding to one more set of directions. These learners thrive on active participation, with the more moving body parts required, the better! Get ready to leave the chair and desk behind and try these inexpensive and easy activities to improve articulation in kinesthetic learners.
5 Activities to Improve Articulation
1. Jar Drop – This game is one that my mom used to use decades ago and I have modified with my own kids over the years for various learning goals. You’ll need a sturdy chair your child can kneel on, facing backwards. Behind the chair place 3-5 jars that have labels on them of the target sound. I like to put the label in the bottom of the jar, facing up, so my kids can see the target sound when they are kneeling over the jars. Then give your child a bucket or bag with clothes pins (the spring-based pinching kind) that have word tags attached. The word cards need to be narrow so they can easily fit through the jar opening.
For example, if your target sound jars have /s/, /t/, and /r/ on them, you can give your child clothespins with words that use these sounds, such as:
Have your child say the word aloud, and then from the kneeling position on the chair drop the clothespin with the word into (hopefully) the corresponding jar. Any cards that don’t make it into the correct jars can be replayed.
2. Musical Chairs – Put a new twist on this traditional game that is best suited for at least 3 or 4 players so it works well in group therapy sessions or at home with siblings. Onto each chair tape a notecard with a target sound, such as /r/, or words with the target sounds. When you stop the music, everyone who is in a chair needs to say either the word on their chair or come up with a word that uses the target sound. For non-readers you can add pictures below the words (clip art of magazine cuttings work great).
3. A.R.T.I.C.U.L.A.T.I.O.N. – Remember the basketball game of H.O.R.S.E.? You can play this with either an outdoor hoop or just use one of those over-the-door models of basketball hoops. Instead of spelling the word horse or pig though, pick words that use your target sounds. If you need a refresher on the traditional rules of this game, here is an easy tutorial to try.
4. Articulation Bowling – For this game you can use an inexpensive plastic bowling play set, or make your own using plastic soda bottles and a volleyball or rubber gym ball. Onto each pin tape pieces of paper with words that use the target sounds, the actual letter sounds, or for non-readers use stickers of picture that represent these target items. Another option is to take articulation cards and place them under each pin. For every pin that gets knocked down have your child say the word on the pin.
- Try a different version of this by using a plastic golf set and making paper tent cards to represent the golf flags. Fold an 8″x11″ pieces of paper in half and write target sounds on them. These tent cards can be placed next to the putting cups or you can make smaller flags and tape them to straws, then place these in plastic cups weighted with beans or marbles for each flag.
5. Bean Bag Toss – Bean bags are both great sensory tools and versatile accessories for various games. If you have an actual bean bag toss game, such as Toss Across or a bean bag board, just add notecards with articulation target words on each opening. Have your child call out the word for which he is aiming, this way he gets articulation practice even if he doesn’t get the beanbag into the correct opening.
- If you don’t have a bean bag game you can make one easily by taking small children’s socks and filling them with dry beans, then either tying them off or securing them with rubber bands. The back pockets of jeans work well, too, and are the perfect size for bean bags – just make sure to securely sew the top side of the pocket closed. Your bean bag board can be a cardboard box with openings cut into it or even a random collection of plastic bowls.
Activities to Improve Articulation – What Are Your Favorites?
Kinesthetic learners have the most potential to learn when they are given opportunities that meet the needs of their particular learning style. For them this means movement and experiencing the world in tactile ways, and this can be done for articulation practice as well, and adding in a bit of never seems to hurt learning. What are some games and activities to improve articulation that your kinesthetic learners embrace – and you find effective?