It’s important to start early with speech therapy exercises, even as young as 12 months. You can start helping your child develop healthy habits and language skills at a young age. It’s also never too late to begin some of these activities. Remember that children learn by example, so you should try to incorporate these activities into your daily routine and make them fun.
Penguins make great toys, puppets, or magnets to use during therapy sessions with children. An excellent reason to use a puppet is that it can be used as a prop in speech therapy games and exercises. A child can use the puppet to engage in pretend play while practicing language skills or articulation at the same time.
Penguins are known for their bright black and white feathers, but did you know that some species of penguins have spots on their belly? This can help them hide from predators that swim below them when they’re in the water. Some species of penguins also have yellow or orange feathers on their head.
Penguins are very social animals, and they live in colonies with other birds. They often form long-term relationships with other penguins, and they mate for life! Penguins lay eggs, and it takes approximately 2 months for them to hatch. After hatching, baby penguins begin swimming right away.
Penguins are birds that live in Antarctica and other parts of the southern hemisphere, and their appearance makes them easy to recognize. Their black feathers and white stomachs, along with their black webbed feet and beaks, help them to blend in with the icy landscape. They can also be recognized by their waddling gait when they walk on land. Penguins are social animals that live in large colonies called rookeries.
The penguin’s unique appearance makes it a fun animal to talk about with children who are learning language skills. The following activities can be used in speech therapy sessions or at home to teach new words, increase vocabulary knowledge, improve reading comprehension, develop language concepts, and practice using language for social communication.
Examples of Penguin Speech and Language Activities
- Animal Sorting
For this activity, have a piece of construction paper with a penguin shape in the center and draw lines from the penguin to make boxes for different animals. In each box, write a different animal name.
Have your child choose cards from an animal card deck (like Old Maid) and sort the cards into the correct box. If your child is working on describing, ask him or her to describe the animal on the card using the word or words that you are practicing. You can also ask your child to name an animal that belongs in a certain box (for example, “Can you find an animal that belongs in this box?”).
- Penguin Matching
For this activity, print out pictures of objects starting with each sound you are working on (you can start with only one sound at a time and then move onto another sound once your child is able to master it). Glue each picture onto a large craft stick (popsicle sticks work too!). Place all of the craft sticks face down into a pile.
- Squeaky Penguin
Draw a picture of a penguin on poster board and cut it out. Then, glue the penguin to a piece of cardboard and tape it on the back so that it folds in half like a book. Inside, glue cotton balls on the side that shows when the book is folded shut. When the book is opened, it should look like the penguin has white feathers. The cotton balls will make a squeaking sound when they rub against each other as you close the book. Talk to your child about what sounds the penguin is making, and how those sounds are different from other kinds of sounds—like those made by humans or birds.
- Playful Penguins
Use ping pong balls and plastic cups to create some playful penguins! First, use markers to draw eyes, beaks, and wings on each ping pong ball (you could also draw spots if you want to make puffins!).