How to Use My Child’s Interests to Improve Speech | Speech Education Part 5
Hi guys. I am back for another video. If this is your first time joining us, welcome. If you’re back, thank
you so much for joining us again. We are so glad to have you.
My name is Kelli Floyd, and I am a speech language pathologist with Bright Start. As always, I’m going to
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So today we are going to talk about what your child enjoys. So a few sessions ago, I talked about
observing your child and beginning to understand what it is that they enjoy and what motivates them
and what they love. Today we’re going to talk about what are some of the things that your child might
be interested in. I’m going to give some examples of some ways that you can utilize those things for
moving your language forward.
So I am going to first and foremost tell you that this might be a time that you have to think outside the
box, because if you observe your child and you find that they just love to be outside, then you’re going
to have to think out of the box perhaps, to think about how you might use the outside to further your
speech and language development. A little spoiler, outside is a really easy one and it’s actually not too
hard to think outside the box, but we’ll get to that in a second.
But maybe you found that your child really just loves vacuum cleaners. Well, you might have to think
outside the box for that, because that’s not something that you would typically think that maybe your
child would enjoy.
Maybe you found that your kiddo is a truck kid. They love trucks. They want to do trucks all day, every
day, and that’s all that they want to do and that’s where their interest is. Well, you might feel pretty
comfortable at first, but you might soon get bored and think, “This can’t be all there is. How can I utilize
trucks to really expand their language beyond this one way of playing?” I’m going to talk to you about
So you have observed your child. You have found what they are interested in. You have found what
brings the light to their eyes, what captures their attention. Now what do you do with it? Well, let’s
pretend that they like to be outside. Your child is the most aware, the most talkative, and the most
engaged and interactive outside.
I’m going to tell you that one of my favorite activities is to go on a walk. Now I use the term walk very
loosely. You aren’t going to be getting any cardiovascular workout on a walk with a toddler. You actually
might not even go very far. The reason is because you’re going to stop and you’re going to look at and
you’re going to examine and you’re going to talk about almost everything you see.
So just prepare yourself before you go on this walk, that it might not be a very long walk. It’s going to be
a very slow walk. You might go forward five steps and backwards six steps because they might find
something that they want to go back to that they were very interested in.
But just like we did when we first started observing our child, figure out what it is they were interested
in. We’re going to do the same thing on our walk. We’re going to see what lights them up. What are they
interested in and we’re going to follow their lead.
So if they’re a kiddo that wants to examine all the plant life along the walk, begin to think about how
you can talk about those plants. Maybe you don’t know the names of plants. I don’t know all the names
of plants, but I know flowers and I know leaves and I know what they look like and what they feel like.
And so, I can talk about that. We can talk about, “Oh, that is a very smooth leaf,” “Oh, that one is very
green,” “Look, these leaves are changing colors,” “Oh, this one is crunchy. We’re crunching through the
You might find beautiful flowers. Well, you can talk about the colors of the flowers. You can talk about
the way the flowers smell. You might even see some bees coming to the flowers, if you’re lucky. You can
talk about the bees that are coming to the flowers and they’re landing on the flowers. Then they’re
flying away from the flowers.
You can talk about how things feel. Maybe it feels spiky, or maybe it feels bumpy, or maybe it feels
rough. There are all kinds of descriptive words that you can use. You can talk about the way the weather
feels. “Ooh, it’s cold out today,” “Oh, it looks like it’s cloudy. It might rain. It’s getting dark.” There’s all
kinds of things that you can begin to talk about in that way.
Maybe your little one isn’t interested in the plants and the flowers and the weather. Maybe they’re
interested in the things that they see in the yards of your neighbors. Maybe they want to go up and look
at that frog that happens to be in your neighbor’s garden. As long as you feel like your neighbor would
be okay with that, allow them to explore and check that out. Talk about what that is and what it might
do and what it looks like, maybe how it feels.
You can see how this theme of really exploring with words, the things that you’re seeing as well as the senses … So you’re going to pair the words with the senses … can really be very fun and very language-
So I love when a kiddo thinks outside is the best place to be, because there’s so much language. It’s
endless. There is endless language to be had outside, whether you stay in your yard, whether you take a
walk, whether you explore even a parking lot while you’re waiting on a sibling who’s in a sport or to get
out of school.
There are so many ways that you can utilize outside. Just begin to use your senses. What do you see?
What do you feel? What do you smell? Then really get down and explore and look at it and talk about it
with your child. Maybe even encourage them to collect some things so that you can look at it later and
review it later.
So maybe your child likes outside. Maybe your child is interested in trucks, like we talked about earlier,
and you are really tired of playing trucks the same way every time. Well, here’s what I’m going to tell
you. Here’s the good news. You don’t have to play trucks the same way every time.
Did you know that you can bring trucks to different places and have trucks do the same things that you
maybe would play with baby dolls with? You can have your truck go to sleep. You can have your truck
pretend to eat. You can bring your truck to the table if you’re adventurous and you don’t mind a
distraction at a meal. You can wash your trucks. You can dry your trucks and you can make your trucks
go up, up, up, up, up in a mountain and down, down, down, down, down the hill and they can fall over
and go, “Oh, no.” Trucks can do lots and lots and lots and lots of things.
So if you have a kiddo that loves trucks, maybe all they’re interested in is even lining the trucks up,
maybe you could get them to put them in a line and then push them over a cliff, i.e., the couch, push
them off the couch or off the arm of the couch. It really doesn’t have to be terribly involved or you don’t
have to think really hard because there’s lots of language that can be had with that.
So maybe they’ve lined them up and we’ve counted them and we’ve said what colors they are. We’ve
said, “Who’s first in line? Who’s second in line? Who’s the last one?” Maybe we’ve done all the things
that we can see. Well, maybe then we line those trucks up, Or maybe you begin to model lining those
trucks up, and then pushing them off. “Oh no, they fell off. Where did they go?” “Oh, that one went under the couch,” “Oh, that one went over beside the table,” “Oh no, that one flipped upside down.”
There are so many ways that you can then use language with that.
Maybe you’re really done with that and you want to put them through a car wash, right? Okay, well, we
can then put the trucks in the water. We can swish them around. We can rub them. We can take them
out of the water. We can dry them off. We can see how clean they are. Again, that’s all with your trucks.
Maybe the trucks have had a really hard day and you want to put them to sleep. They need to go to
sleep. They’ve had a tough day. You can tuck your trucks in. You can make a bed for your trucks. You can
cover your trucks up. They can pretend to snore. Then you can say, “Oh, trucks, good morning. Wake up,
wake up, wake up.” Maybe you could even put a song with it (singing). You can just make it a fun
Guys, I just want to tell you all that if your child is interested in something, observe them with that thing
and then think, how can I expand that? How can I add to that? How can I put more language with this
activity? How can I make it more fun? How can I generalize it? How can I take it to different places?
Then it might open your world up to see that thing that you think is the one thing that they are
fascinated with and stuck on in a whole new light when you begin to think about how else it can be used
and played with other than the one way that they maybe are playing with it now.
I hope that’s been helpful, and I hope you guys come back next time and join us for more tips. Take care.
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