During the winter months families are often stuck inside.Finding things to do that keep the interest of children can be difficult. Now that many people have iPads and other digital devices, they have access to many apps that are fun for kids but also have the added benefit of building language skills.
As a speech-language pathologist and a mom, I regularly use apps both at work and home. One of my current favorites is My PlayHome, an interactive doll house for the iGeneration – children can turn lights on and off with a flick of the finger, put kids to bed in cribs or bunk beds, and even wash dishes in a bubbly sink. I love it because it is a very simple tool that targets a variety of speech and language areas.
Have your child point to and name the various objects and people in each room. What is in the bedroom? Bunk beds, dresser, crib, toys…
Have your child come up with activities that are appropriate for each particular room.
- Make breakfast in the kitchen.
- Watch TV in the living room.
- Sleep in the bedroom.
- Brush teeth in the bathroom.
- Jump on the trampoline in the backyard.
Ask your child to follow your directions, using a combination of characters, objects and rooms.
- Put the hat on the boy.
- Have the girl feed the fish.
- Turn off the TV in the living room.
Have your child describe what is going to happen, is happening, or has happened.
- She is going to brush her teeth.
- She is brushing her teeth.
- She brushed her teeth.
Have your child work through a routine he or she is familiar with in real life, such as activities related to bedtime. They can choose a character, brush their teeth, dress them in their PJs and tuck them in. You can also work with your child to brainstorm additional activities that could take place before bed, like taking a bath, reading a story and saying goodnight.
Work on concepts, using family members, rooms and objects.
- The kettle is on the stove.
- The box goes on the shelf above the sink.
- Put toilet paper in the cupboard under the sink.
- The mom is standing next to the dad.
- Have the girl stand below the tree house.
Work on he, she, her, his, him, they, them, etc. as they relate to the family members.
- Mom gave a plate to him.
- She is taking a shower.
- They are jumping on the trampoline.
- These are her pajamas.
- He is watering the flowers.
Feature, function and class
Help your child identify objects according to its parts (features), what you can do with it (function) and its category (class)
- Cup – has a handle, you can drink from it, it’s a kitchen item.
- Chair – has legs and a seat, you sit on it, it’s a piece of furniture.
- Toothbrush – has handle and bristles, you use it to clean your teeth, it’s a toiletry.
Your child can mirror the activities in MyHome in real life. Set the MyHome table and have its characters eat dinner and clean up, then repeat the same process in your own home.
MyHome is unique because it merges a traditional toy like a dollhouse with today’s interactive technology, but many of the activities listed above could be accomplished using a conventional dollhouse or other type of playset. The key is to work on those speech skills while having fun together.
Christina Rochon is a speech-language pathologist at the Kaufman Children’s Center and a graduate of Northern Michigan University, where she earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. She has completed additional coursework in augmentative communication devices. Christina came to the KCC from the Chicago area and has worked in both center-based and in-home speech programs
Looking for more special needs apps?
Check out the Special Needs App Review!
With over a thousand apps now available to help individuals with special needs it has become increasingly difficult to find and choose the right special needs app. The Friendship Circle App Review gives you the ability to find the perfect special needs app for your child.