Expanding utterances is a common goal in Speech and Language Therapy sessions, particularly with the preschool population. In this blog post, you’ll learn three fun and engaging activities for supporting young children to expand their mean length of utterance.
Expanding Utterances with ‘Feed the Animal’ Activities
‘Feed the Animal’ activities are a fun and “hands on” way to support young children to expand their utterances. These activities are easy to prep and when laminated, can be used over and over again!
To do this activity, simply get a picture of an animal with their mouth open-wide. Cut out the mouth, so you have a gap where you can “feed” the animal. Get a selection of food pictures, cut these out too (tip: laminate all of the pictures for added durability). Then encourage the child to choose some food and “feed” it to the animal by posting it through the mouth. While they’re “feeding” the animal, you can model subject + verb, verb + object, and subject + verb + object phrases. For example “cow eating“, “eat the carrot“, or “the cow is eating the carrot“.
This Expanding Utterances resource includes 18 different mouth feeding activities– 9 targeting verb + object phrases and 9 targeting subject + verb + object phrases. A range of food items are also included. Each page has a sentence strip at the bottom and visuals are provided, so you can provide students with visual support if required.
Using Interactive Books to Expand Utterances
Interactive books are a fun and engaging way to get repetitive practice of a target phrase or skill.
Therapists or caregivers read through the book with the child, prompting them to choose the interactive pieces from the selection at the bottom that correctly matches the picture, so they form a two or three-word phrase.
There are 20 interactive books included in the Expanding Utterances resource (available in my TPT store). Each book targets either a two-word or a three-word phrase. Phrase structures include subject + verb, verb + object, and subject + verb + object, for example “The chick is sitting” or “The cow is eating grass“. Once prepped, you can use these books over and over again to support children to expand their utterances in Speech and Language Therapy sessions.
Expanding Utterances with Play Dough Mats
Play dough is always a hit with young children! You can use play dough mats to practise various skills while keeping children engaged during your Speech and Language Therapy sessions.
Create a play dough mat by putting a range of pictures related to the target goal/skill on a page. Print and laminate the page (or put it inside a page protector). Encourage the child to practise their goal/skill and then cover one of the pictures. For example, you could have a page with pictures of people or animals doing different actions. Then support the child to practise formulating phrases related to the picture, expanding their utterances as appropriate. They then squash some play dough onto the picture. Keep going until all pictures are covered.
If you want to use play dough mats to support children to expand their utterances in your Speech and Language Therapy sessions, but don’t have time to spare finding all the pictures, you can save valuable time with this Expanding Utterances resource. This resource includes 20 play dough mats targeting a range of phrases. There are 13 play dough mats with clipart images, and 7 with real photos. Each mat has a sentence strip at the bottom, and you can support students to put visuals in the spaces to complete the phrase. These are great for using in your sessions to support young children to expand their utterances and use a range of subject + verb, verb + object, and subject + verb + object phrases.
Engaging Activities for Expanding Utterances in Speech & Language Therapy
This Expanding Utterances resource has been designed to support young children to expand their utterances and use early subject + verb, verb + object, and subject + verb + object phrases with these engaging animal-themed Speech Therapy materials.
The resource includes research, tips, and strategies for supporting children to increase their mean length of utterance. It also includes a variety of activities. In addition to the three activities featured in this post, the resource includes ideas for expanding utterances in play and routines, 11 fun play ideas for the stimulus cards, and a set of structured sentence frames. I.e., plenty of activities to keep students engaged and make planning easy!
This Expanding Utterances Resource is Perfect for:
- Using in Early Intervention and preschool Speech and Language Therapy sessions.
- Supporting young children to expand their utterances and use early subject + verb, verb + object, and subject + verb + object phrases.
- Using all year round or alongside any animal-themed activities, such as farm, zoo, pets, etc.
- Using in Early Intervention coaching sessions- share the caregiver-friendly handouts with families to support carryover at home.
- Using with individual students and in small group sessions- the range of sentence strip options means each child can do the same activity while differentiating the difficutly level.
I hope you’ve found these ideas helpful! If you want to learn more about supporting children to expand their utterances, including the three things you need to consider if a child isn’t combining words into phrases yet, read this blog post.