By Small Talk Speech Pathology

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Play dough - homemade & made with LOVE!

We all love the squishy, comforting feeling of play dough and so do kids!

Play dough is a FUN filled activity for everyone and kids love it even more if the adults can get creative along with them and play with them.  Play dough is an inexpensive activity that can occupy kids for hours on end!

This is a simple no cook play dough recipe which you can make within minutes.   

  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup salt
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • natural or food colouring (eg. beetroot, turmeric powder), optional
Note:  Increase the above amounts two or three times for more play dough which can be divided and coloured differently.


1.  In a bowl mix all dry ingredients. 

2.  Add oil, liquid colouring and boiling water (warn kids if they are helping!) and stir until it all comes together.

3.  Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it until it becomes smooth. If the playdough is still too hot to touch, leave to cool a bit. Divide into several portions and add different colouring few drops at the time to each. Knead well into the playdough.

4.  Store in an airtight container after play time.  It will dry out quickly otherwise.
Last step, but not the least, have fun and play with your kids (for a little while)! It’s very therapeutic for adults, too, as you can see in the picture below !

More play dough making tips:
  • For a textured play dough, add some glitter, dried lavender or sand.
  • Add a few drops of natural cooking essence like orange, peppermint or almond for a nice smell, but omit if that will tempt small kids into eating the playdough – it IS natural, but way too salty.
  • If the kids manage to eat some, don’t be alarmed, it won’t hurt them, they’ll just be very thirsty!
  • Be alarmed if they eat commercial playdough – it is full of chemicals, with a weird sweet smell.
  • Once the playdough starts to smell rancid, dries out or gets very dirty, it’s time to make another batch.

In addition to being a sensory, manipulative medium for children and assisting with the development of fine motor skills - 
play dough is brilliant for building language skills.

When playing with play dough, try using the following words:
Play dough Nouns:
knife, rolling pin, cutting board, cookie cutter, plate, circle, square, triangle, heart

Play dough Verbs:
cutting, rolling, squeezing, squishing, pulling, slicing, chopping
Play dough Adjectives:
sticky, soft, hard, smooth, rough, round

Play dough is another great activity to talk about concepts such as colours, shapes and sizes.
eg. "Let's make a small green star each". "Then we can try a big red square".  You can even theme your play dough sessions to extend your child's vocabulary further eg. baking, making facial expressions based on feelings, or occasions like Christmas, Easter etc.

Have fun and get creative!


Spring Showers and Playful Ideas

This beautiful creation by Juime would be a lovely way to expand your child's bathroom vocabulary and a way to ease anxiety for those little ones in the transition from baths to showers.

With a few days left of school holidays and the dreaded onset of these spring showers, why not use some of your enforced inside time to get creative and have a go at making this wonderful toy with your kids?

One vintage suitcase like this one.

a hanging soap holder

A storage container for a bath. If you like this one get it here.

A little pocket mirror. If you don't have one of these lying around have a look at this sweet one on Etsy.

From your local hardware store, a small length of wooden dowel to fit across the top of your suitcase
and while you're there, pick up a small shower head (or take the opportunity to update your own and pass on the old one to a doll in need)

Finally, you will need some lovely fabric of your dolls choice to use as a shower curtain - 
why not use an old scarf or scrap fabric from a hemmed dress. If you get stuck, have a look here for some lovely options.

Have fun assembling all the pieces and work on your child's language as you do
example vocabulary: prepositions (in, on, over, through) 
- bath in
- soap on
- mirror on
- soap hanger over
- shower curtain through 
Have older children give you the directions and add "put the" into the beginning of their sentences.

If you have concerns regarding your child's speech or language development feel free to visit Small Talk Speech Pathology Website and follow the links to the email address. All questions will be answered as soon as possible.

I hope you all enjoy the last few days of school holidays and happy crafting.


Tuesday, 27 September 2011

25 Snacks That Will Give You Energy Throughout The Day

Our energy is integrally connected to the foods we eat. The foods we choose to put in our body can either boost our energy, or drag us down. Here are great energizing foods that will support our general well-being and health. There’s 25, so I’ll get right into it!

To persuade your defiant little ones, try getting the whole family involved, or even making dinner or lunch a competition e.g. "who can eat something RED first?"
Happy snacking,

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Building Cupcakes ~ Building Language

These free printable cupcakes from the delightful blog Volume 25 are perfect for playing and learning.
  1.  To teaching prepositions to early language learners  use sentences like “cake in”, “icing on”, “cherry on”.
  2.  For the more advanced child add colours to the sentence e.g. “chocolate cake in”, “pink icing on”.
  3.  For children with difficulties expressing themselves, have them tell you what they are going to make e.g. “I would like a chocolate cupcake, with pink icing and a cherry on top”.
  4.  For children with difficulties understanding instructions have them follow your directions e.g. “find the chocolate cupcake” “put the pink icing with sprinkles on the top” “put a red cherry on the pink icing”.

If you have concerns regarding your child's speech or language development and would like to know more about what to expect for your child's age, feel free to visit Small Talk Speech Pathology Website and follow the links to the email address. All questions will be answered as soon as possible.

keep calm 
bake on!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Why not try making these lovely crayon hearts for some school holiday fun.
Step 1: cut up wax crayons into equal size pieces
Step 2: Mix pieces in a large mixing bowl
Step 3: Add even amounts of different coloured pieces to shaped baking trays
Step 4: Cook at 110 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes
Step 5: Allow to cool before removing from tray
Step 6: Enjoy your new rainbow heart crayons 

While you do this, why not take the opportunity to develop your child's knowledge of colours. e.g. find me a blue crayon, find me a red crayon...etc.
Have your child then use that colour in a sentences. Add the verb 'cut' and expand their sentences to a level that fits their current ability.
1. blue
2. cut blue
3. cut blue crayon
4. cut the blue crayon

If you have concerns regarding your child's speech or language development feel free to visit Small Talk Speech Pathology Website and follow the links to the email address. All questions will be answered as soon as possible.

happy learning,


In most homes - the kitchen is where most of the action occurs! Sharing your kitchen and simple cooking tasks with your children can encourage their listening, talking and reading skills.  It can also help build lifelong healthy eating habits. By cooking together, you can turn a chore into a way to spend time with your children.

Things that your child can learn while helping you to cook:
  • new words (whisk, peel, beat, grate as well as names of uncommon foods)
  • mathematical concepts like counting, measuring and time (one teaspoon, half a cup, 30 minutes)
  • an understanding for planning and doing things step by step
  • increased knowledge of healthy foods
  • increased creativity
  • maybe even some patience, while waiting for that cake to rise!
Why not start with something simple like the fruit tower cake below?

Then once you both become more confident and comfortable being in the kitchen together - try something more challenging!  Depending on their age - children can also help set the table, serve food and clean up. Remember that for kids of all ages – full supervision is a must.

Happy Cooking!

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Doll House Ideas

I love this creative idea of turning a modular bookshelf into a dolls house. There are so many opportunities for language within this great set up. Replay daily routines with dolls and toys where possible e.g. having breakfast. This will help your child learn the vocabulary needed for these daily activities.

Breakfast Nouns:
bowl, spoon, knife, plate, toast, cereal, milk, juice, fruit, butter, 
Breakfast Verbs:
spread, pour, drink, eat, cut, peel, slice, mix, 
Breakfast Adjectives:
yummy, yucky, crunchy, soft, chewy, sweet, sour, salty, hot, cold, 

Have fun and get creative,

Thursday, 8 September 2011

10 Ways to Raise a Grateful Kid - By Homa Tavangar

An attitude of gratitude helps us thrive. Try these steps to instil a mind-set of gratitude in your little ones.

1.    Say “Thank you.” When “thank yous” are instilled in our vocabulary at home, a lifelong practice begins, even if it doesn’t stick at first. You can gently restate a sentence with polite language inserted, or suggest saying “Thank you” together.

2.    Live it. Set an example and show appreciation by conveying you paid attention to real effort: “Your room looks so nice with the toys in their bins. I’m so happy that you remembered to put them away!”

3.    Teach through role play. If your little one is too shy to say “thank you” in a social setting, they can pretend to teach their stuffed animals or dolls to do so, while you play along.

4.    Create daily or weekly routines. A regular question, “What are you most thankful for today?” can serve as a comforting routine at bedtime or a highlight of a weekly dinner ritual.

5.    Give concrete examples. At dinner, you can play the Rose and Thorn game, where the person whose turn it is to speak holds a rose and tells about one rose (a good thing) and one thorn (a challenging thing). A metaphor like the rose helps children develop gratitude even when things aren’t going their way. Keeping the rose in a vase all week serves as another reminder of coping with natural ups and downs. Books like The Giving Tree, Have You Filled a Bucket Today? and Mama Panya’s Pancakes offer simple, powerful metaphors of virtues.

6.    Set expectations when shopping. Melanie Etemad of Bryn Mawr, PA shared a useful approach that her husband, a psychiatrist, came up with when their daughter Elyse was just two: “We’d say today is a ‘look’ day. Just like going to the museum, we enjoy the beautiful things, but we aren’t planning to buy anything. … We also tried to ensure that there were more ‘look’ days than ‘buy’ days, specifically to inoculate against the idea of always buying things, knowing that it breeds discontent. Now, at age six, Elyse knows that most of the time when we go out, we are not necessarily planning to buy anything and has the habit to ask if today is a ‘look’ day or a ‘buy’ day.”

7.    Make giving and volunteering a habit. Set aside toys and clothing in good condition. Deliver the items to a deserving cause together. Talk about the process and why you care. Tap into organizations like Global Giving that offer a virtual marketplace for making a difference.

8.    Create gratitude gift lists. Alongside a holiday or birthday gift wish list, for every item, family members can list something they are grateful for. These are the “priceless” gifts. By generating the list in a beautiful way, you demonstrate how valuable the alternate list is; it can be a keepsake for years to come.

9.    Thank those who serve. Your example of acknowledging those who quietly make a difference in your life, from the bus driver to the person sweeping up the aftermath of a family lunch out, sends a powerful message to your children. Likewise, organizations like Operation Gratitude and Blue Star Families remember those serving in the military. Kathy Roth-Douquet, Founder and Chair of Blue Star Families, says, “In addition to a thank-you letter, we ask the participant to pledge to do some form of community service … thanks and appreciation is best when it involves action, and a sense of all being in a worthwhile effort together.”

10.  Be patient. Kids can’t be cajoled into showing appreciation, but your gentle efforts and examples will instil gratitude as a way of life.

Now I know my ABC...

Letter awareness and sound to letter correspondence is vital in the development of literacy for your child. So why not start their exposure to letters early in a relaxed and beautiful way with these wall art alphabet ideas?

Have a look at these darling Printable ABC posters from Kind over Matter

or these beautiful free printable Vintage Alphabet Cards from Rook no.17.

They are a fun and pretty way to have the alphabet in your home and a great way to introduce letters to your child long before they reach a classroom.