After the candy—never forget the candy—our favorite part of Halloween is the sounds. From ghostly “boos” to sickening “slurps,” Halloween is a time when kids and grown-ups get to dress-up, be silly, and make some extra-goofy noises. For kids in speech therapy, Halloween “sound science” activities are a great way practice new sounds and skills. And, they are also a cool way for the whole family to have even more fun experimenting with the chilling, spooky, and goofy effects sounds can produce.
This blog post is for parents who would prefer not to sound like Ben Stein’s class in the iconic John Hughes’ comedy from the 1980’s, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. “Anyone…anyone?” As your child moves through his or her speech therapy goals, being involved for even a few minutes, three to five times per week, can be enormously beneficial. This is especially true when your child is in the process of practicing a new speech or language behavior that he has learned, but has not yet mastered. Because our children have a lot on the plates, and we as parents don’t want to overwhelm them, I recommend embedding this home-based speech practice into what they already are doing. This often takes the form of games or other overtly play-based activities, as opposed to worksheets, books or anything that could be construed as “work.” Since each age group tends to have different play interests, this post is organizes the choices of games for practicing speech sounds according to age, from birth to age 3, preschool age (age 3 to 5), school age (age 6 to 9), and pre-adolescents (age 10 to 14).