5 Ways to Target Speech & Language with Pumpkins

themes in speech Oct 06, 2021

It's pumpkin season and there are lots of fun ways to target speech and language goals by bringing pumpkins into your sessions! 

1) Spatial Concepts: grab some stickers or silly putty and leaves and place them in front of the child. Practice the preposition "on" each time you place something ON the pumpkin. You can put the stickers "on top" of the pumpkin, "on the bottom" of the pumpkin, "on the front" or "on the back" of the pumpkin to expand the use of different spatial concepts. 

Hide pumpkins around the room and have your child tell you where the pumpkin was located each time they find a pumpkin and bring it back to you (e.g., UNDER the table, ON the chair, BESIDE the desk, etc.).

2) Speech Sounds: just last week I was working with a kiddo that is practicing final /ch/ at sentence level. We decided we were going to make a pumpkin patch using mini objects and the pumpkins that were hidden around the room. Each time the kiddo found a pumpkin, he would say "put it in the pumpkin patch" and had a blast creating a pumpkin patch just like the one we read about in our story that day! 

Another great way to incorporate s-blends is by saying "stick it on the pumpkin" each time you place a sticker on the pumpkin. You can put "spots" on the pumpkin, you can place things on the pumpkin's "stem". Lots of ways to incorporate s-blends while playing with a pumpkin. 

3) Pronouns: think of this activity the same as potato heads but instead - pumpkin heads! Have two little pumpkins and use your potato head pieces to create a girl pumpkin and a boy pumpkin - discuss who wants each piece (e.g., does she want the blue eyes or does he want the blue eyes?) and who to give it to (e.g., give him the red nose). If you don't have potato head pieces you can draw your own body parts (e.g., eyes, ears, mouth, nose) and tape them on the pumpkins. 

4) Describing: get a real pumpkin and open it up! Talk about what the pumpkin looks like on the outside and the inside (e.g., it's orange with a brown stem; it's round), how it feels (e.g., hard/soft, bumpy/smooth; sticky, slimy), what it smells like, what you use pumpkins for, where you find/see pumpkins, what category a pumpkin belongs too, etc. 

5) Sequencing Making a Jack-O-Lantern or the Life Cycle of a Pumpkin: You can do this by making a craft or using play-props/real pumpkins in your session. If you want to make a craft using the sequence of making a Jack-O-Lantern, begin by cutting out a pumpkin out of orange construction paper. Talk about: "First, we draw the eyes, then we draw the nose and lastly we draw the mouth. After we draw the face we need to carve/cut the face out of the pumpkin. Once the pumpkin has a face we place a candle inside (place a pretend candle behind your craft) and light it." 

If you want to talk about the life cycle of a pumpkin you can have some pumpkin seeds, dirt, a green pipe-cleaner and paper leaf as the beginnings of it growing, a yellow flower for the blooms and then a little pumpkin and have the child place the objects in order and tell you the sequence of what happens when a pumpkin grows! 

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