Children pick up sounds and language from a very early age based on what they hear. It’s typical that small children have difficulty with certain sounds and pronunciations, such as mixing up the “sh” and “s” sounds or articulating improperly the “th” sound. Usually these speech impediments resolve themselves over time; however, if your child’s difficulties endure or if he develops speech irregularities, such as a lisp or a stutter, sessions of speech therapy are necessary. Aside from “homework” related to speech therapy, a variety of exercises and activities can be done at home to advance your children’s speech.
One fun activity to improve speech is playing tongue-twister games. Forcing a child to articulate certain sounds over and over commits these sounds to memory, making it easier to use these sounds spontaneously while talking normally. Some popular tongue twisters include, “She sells sea shells at the sea shore” and “A noisy noise annoys an oyster.” These tongue-twisters are difficult to repeat several times in succession even for people without a speech problem!
Another activity that boosts speech and memory is playing the “making a list” game, with each person adding another item to the previous person’s list. For example, the first person says, “I went to the store and bought an apple.” The second person says, “I went to the store and bought an apple and a banana.” The third person says, “I went to the store and bought an apple, a banana and a candy.” And so on. You can make the list alphabetically or by topic. While this activity doesn’t improve articulation like the tongue-twister game, it does encourage using an extensive vocabulary and memorizing lists of items. As