Spring has sprung and Easter is right around the corner! As a speech-language pathologist working in the pediatric population, I get super excited when Easter rolls around for one reason: EASTER EGGS.
I LOVE busting out the Easter eggs in my therapy room because a) they elicit a ton of language (I could honestly find different ways to use them for a month straight) and b) kiddos are fascinated by them. Fascinated! Is it opening them up? Seeing what goodies are inside? The bright colors? The simple fact that they don’t seem them every day? Whatever it is, kiddos just can’t seem to get enough!
As SLPs, it is our job to teach children to use and understand language with us in the therapy room, but it is an even bigger part of our job to teach parents how to help them generalize those skills into their everyday lives. For the month of April, I am telling all my families about the magic of Easter eggs to facilitate generalization!
Hop on by your local dollar store and pick up these items for under $10! What you will need:
Plastic eggs-try to get a variety of colors, sizes, etc.
Easter baskets, buckets, etc.- I recommend getting at least 2- one for you and one for your kiddo. You can always grab more if you plan to include other family members. After all, they are only a dollar :)
Mini erasers, candy, toys, bubbles, stickers, etc. Any little goodies you desire to fill up your eggs.
-FIND- ‘’Let’s FIND the eggs!’’ (duh!)
-HIDE- ‘’Let’s HIDE the eggs! HIDE the sticker in the egg.’’
-LOOK/SEE-’’Let’s LOOK for eggs! I SEE an egg in the tree!’’
-RUN- ‘’Let’s RUN to the next one.’’
-HOP/JUMP- ‘’HOP like a bunny! JUMP to the next one!’’
-ROLL- ‘’ROLL the egg to me’’
-TOSS/THROW ‘’TOSS the egg to me. THROW it in your basket’’
-CATCH- ‘’CATCH it in your hands’’
-CARRY- ‘’CARRY your basket.’’
-OPEN- ‘’OPEN the egg/cabinet/door.’’
-CLOSE- ‘’CLOSE the egg.’’
-POUR- ‘’POUR the Jelly Beans in the egg. POUR out the eggs from your basket.’’
-FILL-’’FILL the egg with candy. FILL up your basket!’’
And more!!! Get moving and see what other action words you can discover!
It is important for children to understand basic concepts in order to follow directions and express themselves effectively. This becomes especially important as children reach school age in order for them to be successful in the classroom setting.
Below are examples of some of the basic concepts you can practice.
-empty and full- ‘’Is it empty? Or full?’’
-colors- ‘’Find a green egg.’’
-more, more, least- ‘’Who has the most eggs? You have more than me!’’
-same/different- ‘’We have the same color! Find one that is a different color.’’
-big/small- ‘’Look! This egg is big!’’
Positional words occur frequently and are therefore critical to language development. Target positional words like in, out, on, off, under, in front, beside, between, next to, above, etc. As you hide or find the eggs, describe where you are hiding and finding them. ‘’Behind the bush, in the grass, under the table, in front of the hose, beside the chair, take it out of the tree,’’ etc. Get creative with it and find some fun places to hide those eggs!
Personal pronouns like ‘’I, me, you, your, my,’’ can be tricky for kiddos to learn. Target understanding these pronouns (e.g., ‘’Where’s my basket? Show me your eggs!’’), or target using these pronouns (e.g., ‘’I hide, you hide, my basket, your basket’’ etc.) throughout your egg hunt journey.
The majority of children that I see who struggle with receptive language have some type of goal to improve their ability to follow directions. Whether your kiddo is still working on following basic commands, multistep directions, directions with modified nouns (shiny, green egg), temporal concepts (before, after, etc.), positional words (e.g., in, out), etc., you can find simple ways to incorporate it during this activity. Single step directions may sound something like, ‘’put it in your basket, give it to Daddy, hide it under the table’’. More complex directions might be something like ‘’hide a purple egg in the tree,’’ or ‘’put an egg in the flowers after you put one beside the chair.’’
See?! There are endless opportunities to naturally elicit a ton of language in an engaging and meaningful way, and the targets listed above are just a few examples! Like I mentioned before, I could easily fill up an entire month of therapy using these delightful, plastic eggs. Talk to your child’s speech-language pathologist about their specific goals and they can give you some individualized tips on what skills to target and how to do so with ease.
Have an egg-cellent time and Hoppy Easter!!
Emily Johnson, Speech-Language Pathologist M.S.Ed., CCC-SLP