Having a Ball with Speech
The summer is here and it’s time to get outside when the weather is nice. Kids love to play and make up games with balls on the playground. They adore balls that bounce, ones that they can toss in the air, and any other kind that you can think of. Why not incorporate the use of balls into some speech and language activities while having some fun?
Alphabet Bounce Squares
Grab some sidewalk chalk and a kickball and you have all of your supplies. Draw a large square and divide it up into smaller squares. For younger children, you may only want four, while a 3×3 grid will work well with older students. Inside each of the squares, write a letter or blend that you have been working on. These could be start sounds or end sounds. Have kids stand around the square and bounce the ball into the area. When it lands on the |f| they need to say a word for that sound and then use it in a sentence. Repeat around and to add a twist, have kids close their eyes so they can’t see where they are bouncing the ball.
Beach Ball Catch
Sections on a beach ball make wonderful places to add a twist to a game of catch. Dollar stores often have beach balls that you can purchase for this activity. Inflate the ball and use a permanent marker to write activities that could be done on each turn. A few ideas for the beach ball sections are:
- Rhyme time
- Similar start
- Equal ending
- Silly sentence
- Act out
If your beach ball has polka dots on it, you could put specific words on to use with younger students. To play this game, stand in a circle and toss the ball to the person on your left. Each person looks at the section under where their right hand landed to determine what they must do. You may want a small bucket of random words that you are working on to utilize rhyming, start/end sounds, and other strategies. The possibilities are endless with this and can focus on many goals at once.
As a speech-language pathologist, suggest that parents take these ideas and apply them at home. Send suggestions on ways to use balls at home to work on their child’s speech and language development. Perhaps ask them to send you a beach ball and you will get it ready for them to use with instructions on how to play. Some multilingual families may also benefit from having translations of words on each section to assist them.