During summer vacation, you may be struggling with keeping your children motivated to do work when all they want to do is play. Or maybe it’s hard to come up with educational ideas when they say “I’m bored!” Don’t worry; motivating kids is not impossible in the summertime!
Speech pathologists use a variety of tricks to keep kids motivated to work during treatment sessions. Children are learning to tolerate structure, improve their attention skills, and increase their motivation, so keeping work fun is a great way to help. Some strategies are as simple as keeping track of how many items are left, while others involve turning the work into a game.
These tricks don’t just work for speech and language treatment. They’ll help with academic flashcards, sight words for reading practice, and completing those awesome “Get Ready for ___ Grade” summer bridge workbooks.
Here are a few of our favorites:
- Hide flashcards around the room. Have your child find them with a flashlight while the lights are off.
- Place a snack on practice items, and eat it when you finish each one.
- Create a “bean box” by filling a box with beans then hiding pictures inside. Search for the pictures by digging in the beans.
- Attach a paperclip to each flashcard, and “catch” them with a magnetic fishing pole.
- Switch roles and have your child be the “teacher,” helping you, the “student” with the task.
- Write practice words on a dry-erase board, and erase them as you go. When the board is clean, you’re done!
- Write words with sidewalk chalk, and spray them away with the hose.
- Make two copies of picture cards, and create a Memory (matching) game.
- Become a movie star by recording production of practice words.
- Try an iPad app that keeps track of accomplishments (such as iReward).
Try some out and see which one is your child’s favorite!
– Kellie Bouren, M.A., CCC-SLP, Speech and Language Pathologist, Children’s Speech Pathology Department, Beaumont Children’s Hospital