Arts and Crafts Activity to Improve Speech and Language

Fun Arts and Crafts Activity to Encourage Speech and Language


Paper plates

Spray water bottle (fill bottle about a ¼ full)


Non-toxic Washable markers (put in a zip lock bag)

Cookie tray (to put under paper plate)


Present items one by one in an enthusiastic manner. Slowly name each item. Give yourself a paper plate (“Here’s my plate!”)– see what they do. They’ll probably want a plate too. Wait expectantly for them to say something and/or to indicate that they want something. Immediately reward and praise any verbal attempt. When you’re giving a plate, say what you’re doing (“Here’s your plate, Jenny.”) Repetitions paired with visual cues are very important.

Now, onto the markers. Depending on your child’s fine motor skills, he or she may or may not be able to open the zip lock bag. Give them the opportunity to try. Give them the bag unopened (May sound mean, but it’s not!). If they’re having difficulty, encourage them to say “help” or “open”.

Once they open the bag, take out two markers and give them a choice (“Do you want the green marker or the blue marker?”). Once again, wait expectantly, and repeat the words. Praise any verbal attempts. Once they have a marker, they can color the paper plate. The parent/therapist/teacher should also color. Talk about what you’re coloring using simple, yet grammatically correct speech (“I’m coloring the plate”. “I’m drawing a star”.) Continue this until the plate is very colorful.

Finally, comes the REALLY fun part! Have your child spray the plate with water and watch the colors run! Children find this part awesome. Use the same manner to elicit speech and language as noted above. Playfully withhold desired items, manipulate the environment, model simple yet grammatically correct speech, praise any attempts, but most importantly HAVE FUN!

Here are some words to target during this activity:

One Word Two Words Three Words
Spray Spray more Spray more here
Water More water More water please
Bottle Bottle please The bottle please
Marker Green marker, blue marker, etc. Green marker please, blue marker please
Look! Look here! Look here mom! Look here dad!
Wet It’s wet The plate’s wet

 Can you think of any other words to target? Please comment below!

©2011 by Scanlon Speech Therapy, LLC.  All rights reserved.

3 thoughts on “Arts and Crafts Activity to Improve Speech and Language

  1. Pingback: Speech Therapy for Toddlers: 12 Helpful Posts You Can't Miss!

  2. I’ve been reading through your blogs (and I’m waiting on the delivery of your book) and I notice you suggest to praise toddlers on any sort of a verbal cues indicating they want something. We’ve been trying this with our daughter but she will not speak or make a noise when she wants something, instead she will pull us to what she wants then she will either point or physically gives us something she wants (example, bag with markers in it). We’ve tried asking her “What do you want?” or just “What?” and looking confused and even saying “I don’t know what you want” so she can see we don’t get it but when this happens she gets upset and will just scream, literally. What would be your advise for this situation?

    • Hi Tiffany,
      In your situation, it sounds like your daughter is very intentional and knows what she wants. How old is she? Does she have any words? If so, how many? If she is not yet talking, it is going to be very frustrating for her if you directly ask her questions (such as- what do you want?) particulary when she is showing you what she wants. If she’s not yet speaking, you are going to have to provide her many models (markers? you want the markers? (not expecting an answer here) Here are the markers). Or, you could keep it really simple and target specific words like open or help. Those are functional words that can be used in many different situations. Or, you could have her model your gestures. This is a great place to start if children are not yet talking. Usually, children progress from modeling motor movements (like gestures, signs, and fingerplays) before they can say them. All in all, if you find that what you are doing is causing your child to cry out in frustration, it’s probably not too helpful. Great question! Remember – build up confidence and have fun!
      I hope this is helpful.

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