It’s Halloween time! The kids love all the traditions of costumes, decorations, trick-or-treating and displaying a jack-o’-lantern at your front door. Creating memories with these traditions is so important!
Speech Therapy Halloween Activities
Did you know that you can incorporate speech therapy Halloween activities while decorating your jack-o’-lantern? This is a favorite activity simply because of the one-on-one time, shared engagement, exchanging words, smiles, and laughter. In just that, you are already implementing speech and language. Below are three Halloween speech therapy activities to help bring more speech and language into this fun family activity!
1. Picking out your pumpkin
Whether you pick out your pumpkin from a patch or the local grocery store, you find a variety of shapes and sizes. This is a great opportunity to use describing words in the picking process.
For example, here are words to describe:
- Size: little, small, smaller, tiny, teentsy, medium, big, bigger, large, huge, tall, giant, gigantic, enormous and Buddy the Elf’s word… Ginormous! (not a real word but fun to say)
- Shape: circle, round, oval, square-ish
- Color: orange, yellow, white, green
- Texture: smooth, bumpy, dented, curve, lines, crack
- Action: pick, lift, carry, roll, plop, splat
- Other words: heavy, light, up, down, help, OH! Wow! Uh-oh!
2. Carving your pumpkin
Already have your pumpkin? No worries, you still have opportunities to bring in language when you are carving your pumpkin. Additional words you can use are: top, bottom, cut, carve, pull, scrape, in, out, slimy, stringy, yucky, sticky, light, glow, eyes, nose, mouth, teeth, smile, happy, goofy, scary, angry.
Tips for Encouraging Speech:
If you are doing most of the talking (narrating the process of carving the pumpkin) for kiddos still building their language, you are modeling many words listed above and building understanding of what these words mean, what a speech therapist calls receptive language.
- If they are verbally speaking or using an AAC device (i.e., expressive language) one word/syllable at a time, you can add more to their phrase, for example: child says, “pumpkin,” you say, “yes, it’s an orange pumpkin!” both verbally and with the AAC device. For kids using AAC, we always want to model using the device as well.
- For kids using more language, try open ended questions: How does it feel? What should we do next? What do you like most about making your pumpkin?
- For kids who are non-speaking or limitedly speaking, you engage their participation by giving them choices with physical objects they can reach for or use their eyes to pick: Do you want the square eyes or the circle eyes? The big smile or little smile? The green or purple hat?
- If your kiddo or older siblings like a challenge, have a contest to see who could come up with the most words to describe a pumpkin. Maybe let the winner sample the unopened bag of candy specifically for the trick-or-treaters!
3. Decorating your pumpkin
Does the idea of kids and knives frighten you bit? Yeah, I get that. Thankfully there are other options to decorate a pumpkin. Mini to medium sized fresh pumpkins are the perfect size for this project and you can find them for under $5.
- Paint – Consider painting a pumpkin using brushes, Q-tips or your fingers. Cut a sponge into shapes to stamp a design or paint-and-press leaves for colorful impressions onto your pumpkin. Acrylic paint, Crayola Pumpkin Paint (6ct.-2oz. bottles at Target $4.99) or Tempera paint (Handy Art 4ct.-2oz. Amazon $12) are options easy to find.
- Bling it! – Elmer’s 3D Washable Glitter Glue (10 glue pens Walmart $4.27 or Elmer’s Classic Glitter Glue 6 oz. Michael’s, Amazon, Walmart) dripped from the top can create a cool look in one monotone look or more colors. You may want to wait 3-5 minutes between colors to avoid colors bleeding into each other. Place it on a paper plate before you start and don’t move it until it is completely dry.
- Stickers – This doesn’t require much clean up. Consider decorating with Halloween stickers or your kiddo’s favorite character from Disney, such as Peppa the Pig or Paw Patrol, to name a few. It will have a lot more meaning to your child.
- Bonus Idea: Mr. Potato Head parts can be used to make funny faces or a pumpkin Picasso of random parts.
Get creative, have fun, and make some memories! Simply communicating with your eyes, words, and laughter is what makes these traditions so special. Happy Halloween!
About the Author
Julie is passionate about working in Early Intervention and celebrating success big or small with parents. Everyone at NAPA loves being around Julie. She brings a fun and vibrant energy with her wherever she goes. Sometimes we catch her on the the trampoline or in the ball pit after all of the kids leave.
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