Parents can involve their young child with hearing loss in varied activities to encourage communication and thinking. When a child is engaged in interesting experiences, he has many reasons to listen and use language. Conversations can include expressions a child knows and introduce new concepts to nurture curiosity. The thirty-two terrific tasks outlined here can be easily adapted and the words listed are only examples. Care should be taken to avoid emphasizing naming objects or asking multiple questions. Parents can share this list of suggestions with caregivers so they can explore ideas with a preschooler! Chats that contain observations and wondering provide much language fun.
1. Cut and paste pictures of favorites. Talk about what the child prefers and enjoys.
2. Paint with different size and shaped sponges. Describe dipping, pressing and patterns.
3. Construct decorations for doors or windows. Discuss materials, designs and variations.
4. Pound, roll and shape Play-doh, clay or dough. Chat about textures, shapes and sizes.
5. Search outdoors for either common or unusual items (bikes, rocks, puddles, etc.) Talk about what you saw and make a list.
6. Listen for birds, cats, dogs, bugs or other small creatures. Describe how they look, move, sound and usually eat or live.
7. Brush water (with rollers or paintbrushes) onto cement and add chalk too. Discuss what to try for different results.
8. Pop, catch and blow bubbles using different sizes and types of wands. Chat about how bubbles form, fly and dissolve.
9. Make a refrigerated food (ice cream, pudding). Talk about cool, crystals and frozen.
10. Heat a liquid or food (cocoa, oatmeal). Describe ranges from warm, bubbling to boiling,
11. Stir a drink using powder and ice. Discuss measuring, mixing, shaking and pouring.
12. Bake a multi-step recipe (cookies, cupcakes). Chat about the order: first, next, then and last.
13. Roll, kick, throw or bounce balls. Talk about ways to pass, catch and toss balls to one another and into large containers.
14. Dance to different types of music at varied volumes. Describe actions and imitations of movements to tunes.
15. Build an obstacle course with furniture, boxes and toys. Discuss directions for going around/over/under objects.
16. Join free sport groups at a local recreation center. Chat about typical skills and terms for games (goal/tumble/strike).
17. Attend free days at science centers and museums. Talk about the exhibits before and after.
18. Plant flowers, herbs or vegetables in small pots. Describe how seeds grow and change.
19. Play simple board or matching games. Discuss predicting, following rules and taking turns.
20. Measure objects using string or other items. Chat about sizes, counting and comparisons.
21. Visit areas different from home (beach, city, parks). Talk about what you saw or heard and take pictures too.
22. Go to diverse stores and marketplaces. Describe what you smelled and touched and what you might purchase.
23. Walk in nearby neighborhoods. Discuss buildings, parks, greenery, signs, traffic and people that you notice.
24. Ride a bus or train, or use a wagon, bicycle or scooter. Chat about the distance, time and speed of your mini-trip.
25. Act out a part of a favorite story. Talk about what some characters said, did or felt.
26. Invent musical instruments. Describe and mimic sounds for drums, rattles and bells.
27. Hide objects under a cloth. Discuss guesses for hidden items and make up ways to use them.
28. Put on adult clothes or play dress up. Chat about roles and actions associated with outfits.
29. Read multiple books daily. Talk about the pictures, predict what might happen and review the main points of the story.
30. Create a photo book of a special experience. Describe the emotions and memories, and write captions under the photos.
31. Compose a note together for a relative or friend. Discuss what to write or draw and include signatures/scribbles too.
32. Seek out print everywhere. Chat about letters and words in emails, street signs, lists and names of classmates or friends.