Apps and Activities for Speech and Language Development

Speech and language are probably the most commonly challenging areas of development for individuals with and without special needs.  Little Bee Speech is a company dedicated to providing parents, speech language pathologists, and educators several resources to assist children in obtaining their speech therapy goals.  Since school’s out for many students, it’s important to continue practicing speech and language.  This blog will cover many activities and apps by Little Bee Speech to continue practicing!

LITTLE BEE SPEECH LOGO

Little Bee Speech was founded in 2004 by speech-language pathologist, Heidi Hanks, and her husband, Chris.  Heidi is the writer of the curriculum found within their apps, and Chris is the app designer.  “We love creating apps that are user-friendly and pretty to look at, but our main goal is to provide parents, SLPs and other educators wonderful tools that assist their kids in achieving their speech therapy goals.”

Heidi is also the author and curator of her blog, Mommy Speech Therapy, which she began in 2007.  She entitled it “Mommy Speech Therapy” because she believes parents have the greatest impact on their children’s language development.

She expressed her purpose for writing the blog, “My goal is to share some tips and techniques I have learned over the years in working with my clients and my own kids, and hopefully give you the information you need to be successful in helping your little ones become the very best communicators they can be.”

As I was browsing her blog, I stumbled upon an article entitled Practical Speech Therapy for Home Practice.  Since school is out for many children now (yay summer!) she provided a list of activities to keep the kiddos busy practicing their language and speech skills.

Note: The following activities were provided by Heidi Hanks on her blog, Mommy Speech Therapy.  I am going to copy her description verbatim so I don’t leave anything out!

8 Activities for Practicing Speech and Language:

1. In the car:

Most people are familiar with at least some version of the alphabet game where you take turns going through the alphabet thinking of an animal or a food that starts with each letter of the alphabet.

When targeting speech sounds you can play a similar game, only instead of thinking of animals that start with the letter k you might think of as many words as you can that start with the /k/ sound like “cat,” “cookie” and “kite.” You take turns going back and forth until someone is stumped and can’t think of another word.

2. Sidewalk chalk

Sidewalk chalk is a summer staple at my house. There is so much fun to be had and so many possibilities with sidewalk chalk. You could create your own hopscotch game with speech words, make your own life size board game with speech words, or simply draw and color speech words in the driveway. Let your kids have a great time expressing their creativity on the concrete canvas of the driveway all while practicing the sounds they need work on at the same time. So much fun!

3. Picture Scavenger Hunt

Go through the house and or yard and take pictures of as many things as you can that start with your targeted sound. Whoever takes the most pictures wins. Of course in order to get the prize they have to say each word clearly. 😉 You can even make a fun book of the pictures that were taken to review later.

4. Playdough Fun

Draw a word out of a hat (this could come from the worksheets here on Mommy Speech Therapy, the words in Articulation Station, or you could think of your own words), then shape your playdough into that word. Have the other players guess what you have created. For extra points you could have them say the word in a sentence.

5. At the playground

Whatever your target sound is you can usually find a way to target it at the playground. For example on the slide you could practice the /p/ sound by giving a stuffed animal a “push” down the slide. You could practice the /b/ sound by giving a “big” push, or going down the “big” slide. You could practice the /m/ or /w/ sound by saying, “watch me slide,” “watch mom slide,” or “mom’s turn.” You may even try rolling marbles down the slide into a bowl. You could have them ask for “more marbles” to roll down the slide. You can practice the /s/ sound by saying “ssssss” all the way down the slide and then ending the word when you hit the bottom. The point is if you’re creative you can practice almost any sound anywhere, especially on the playground. 🙂

6. In the sand

Whether you are in your backyard sandbox or at the beach, kids of all ages love the sand! Make it a speech activity by burying objects or laminated picture cards for them to find. When they find the objects or speech cards have them say the word as they put them in their sand pail. Of course the goal is to find them all so be sure and bury them within a small area so they can be found easily by little hands.

7. Paper ball basketball

Write each practice word on a piece of paper. Write the number of syllables in the word below the word. Then crumple each piece of paper into a ball. Have your son or daughter choose a ball, open it up, say the word and then crumple it back up and toss the paper ball into a trash can. If the word was a three syllable word and they make the basket they get three points. If it was a single syllable word they only get one point. Have fun, and don’t forget to keep score. Little ones can be quite competitive!

8. Flashlight Hide and Seek

My kids LOVE playing hide and seek with flashlights in the house. Tape your practice words around the house then turn off the lights. Hand your child a flashlight and then go find the words. Have them say each word as they find them.

To view more of the fun activities, click here!

Now if you want to plug into technology, Little Bee Speech offers a selection of helpful apps!

3 Little Bee Speech Apps:

IMPORTANT NOTE FROM DEVELOPER:  If you suspect your child’s speech and/or language skills may be delayed it is recommend that you seek professional guidance from a certified speech-language pathologist.

1. Articulation Station  PRO

The company’s first app is Articulation Station and is “a comprehensive articulation program offering practice at the word, sentence and story levels in 22 sounds in the English language.”  The app features a clean design and each activity has real photographs on a white background, making them clear and easy to identify!

Articulation Station’s 6 Activities:

  • Flashcards
  • Matching
  • Rotating Sentences
  • Unique Sentences
  • Level 1 Stories
  • Level 2 Stories

Features of Articulation Station:

  • Scoring and comprehensive data tracking
  • Voice recording for auditory feedback
  • Ability to save audio recordings to track progress
  • Sorting by syllables at the word level
  • Group sessions (up to 6 students simultaneously)
  • Customize word lists
  • Student profiles
  • Add your own custom images (when all sounds have been purchased)
2. Articulation Test Center

Articulation Test Center is an “award winning articulation and phonology test for the iPad designed for SLPs, teachers, and parents to assess the articulation and speech production of children and adults of all ages.”  The app features two different tests:

Quick Test

The Quick Test is an articulation screener designed to provide a quick reference of whether a child’s pronunciation is delayed or age appropriate.

To perform the Quick Test, “Simply select the test based on the age of the child being tested and with a simple tap, mark sounds as correct, incorrect, or approximate.”  After the test is completed, you’ll be able to view a full report including sounds said in error and recommendations for practice!

Quick Test Features Include:

  • Test students according to their age
  • Mark sounds incorrect or approximate
  • Save audio recordings and take notes
  • Rate intelligibility (how well they are understood when they speak)
  • Record students speech and score later
  • View all words tested
  • Review written summary of results
  • Recommendations based on age
  • Edit and email test results

Full Test

The Full Test offers additional testing options for speech-language pathologists, so they are able to customize the test for each student’s unique needs.

The Full Test Includes:

  • Test Initial, Medial, and Final Sounds
  • Test Vowels, Initial Blends and ‘R’ Sounds
  • Mark sounds as incorrect or approximate
  • Mark sound deletions and substitutions
  • Mark phonological processes
  • Save audio recordings and take notes
  • Record students speech and score later
  • Add a Speech Sample
  • Rate intelligibility
  • Comprehensive test results
  • Full generate test report
  • Recommendations based on age
  • Edit and email test results
3. Articulation Quick Screener

Articulation Quick Screener is an iPad app available to test your child’s articulation and speech production, and find out if they’re on track for their age!  “Articulation Quick Screener is fun and easy to use…and you can take the first test free!”

Articulation Quick Screener Features include:

  • Test your child based on his or her age
  • Mark sounds incorrect or approximate
  • Save audio recordings and take notes
  • Rate your child’s intelligibility
  • View all the words tested
  • Review written summary of results
  • Read recommendations based on his or her age
  • Email test results

To learn more about Little Bee Speech apps and the developers’ projects, check out the Little Bee Speech website.