Tuesday 7 October 2014

Weetbix Number match!


This little activity was inspired by this sticker matching activity  from Kate over at

Just when I was wondering what I could use all the free number stickers I'd collected from my kids breakfast cereal Weet-Bix. It also came at the perfect time as my Hman has been showing a very strong interest in numbers and showing off his knowledge of number recognition. He is also beginning to make attempts to verbalise number names which is soooooo very exciting! What a clever chap he is!!


dependent on your child's level you can adjust this simple task for ages 3-6


  1. Focus words: same, different, match
  2. Number names             
  1. Number recognition
  2. Matching skills
  3. Fine motor control: Using two hands together to complete a task, pencil grip and control, crossing the midline to create a horizontal line.


This is so super easy to set up. All you need is a piece of paper and a marker. If you have any stickers that you have double up's of like these numbers that came with our box of Weet-Bix.
This does not have to be a number match. You could try colours, animals, shapes, words etc. If you don't have stickers just use your markers!


 To start Hman off we talked about the numbers we could see. He was so excited to see the numbers, bless him! I modelled for him how I could see some numbers the 'SAME'. I got him excited in what was expected by telling him we were going to show the numbers how to find their match by drawing a line. I showed him by drawing the first line. I found it helpful for Hman to show me to point to the matching number before he  drew the line. This gave him a clear idea of where he needed to go. Still we had a few misses but that's all part of the fun!
I made sure to focus on the number names and saying them clearly and slowly for him and prompting him to have a go. It was so exciting to see him start attempting to verbalise the number names!!

If you like this, you may also like,

Matching and Posting Letters


Tuesday 30 September 2014

Matching and Posting Letters Game

This is a super simple game you can make up yourself using items you must likely already have that your children will LOVE!
Children love role playing and posting things and this game combines the two with a whole bunch of learning opportunities your child won't even notice because they are having too much FUN!


2-6 years 


  • some envelopes
  • some coloured card
  • some images you have two of. I simply printing some off from the computer but you could use stickers or images from magazines. I specifically choose images or words that had our target sounds. For more advanced matching you could try mother and baby animals or similar items that are not identical like two boats, two cars, two buses etc.
  • Glue and Scissors
  • Laminator *optional but will make your game more durable


  • Use pictures that will allow your child to practice target sounds.
  • Introduce new vocabulary
  • Joint Attention
  • Concentration
  • Turn taking
  • Power Words: Same, In, Push, I did it

Other Learning

  • Identifying same and different and being able to picture match.
  • Role play writing, mark making for a purpose.
  • Introduction to the postal service.
  • Fine motor skills and using two hands together to complete a task.


  1. To make this game cut out all your images.
  2. Glue one of each pair onto an envelope where the stamp would go and the other onto a piece of card for the letter. Do this for all your images. I made six letters and envelopes for matching.
  3. I then added text to the letters and envelopes by adding addressing and letter introduction.
  4. Laminating the letters serves two purposes, a) it makes them more durable and easier to insert into the envelopes and b) means we can write on them with non permanent markers adding extra element to the game if you so wish.
  5. Create a box for posting. We just used an old shoe box which my children have posted red. We use this box a lot for posting each other special messages and drawings. It's our family post box but it worked perfectly for this game.



I am going to let the pictures do the talking here.
This is a one on one game I created with a set focus however you could play with two children taking turns. I set out all the letters and presented Hman with one envelope at a time and asked him to "find the same". 
He selected the matching letter and we'd put the letter next to the envelope to see if it was a match, 'the same'.
Hman can't yet say 'same' but he can sign it!!
He can also sign different and enjoyed this aspect of the game.
Once he had established that he had found a matching letter for the envelope he slid the letter inside the envelope. This is quite a tricky task and perfect for practicing using those two hands together.
If you were wanting too you could get your child to write or draw on the letter before 'posting' it.


 Then to finish off the most exciting bit. The bit they all look forward to!! They can post the letter.
After doing this for all six letters, Hman had well and truly satisfied my expectations on his concentration and he was done. He did come back later in the day however, and open up the post box and pull all the letters out.
To Extend on This
If your child still was eager to participate or even at a later time you could then deliver the letters to soft toys that match the pictures. I know Hman would enjoy doing this and on another day I will do this with him.
Picture Books on Posting Letters

Other links you may also like

Sticker Matching
Wishing you all the power of communication
If you enjoyed this post please feel free to leave a comment and share with those you know will love it too!


Sunday 21 September 2014

Reading books with children for Speech and Language Development

We all know we should be reading books with our children, we know that it is so important to their development, that it is the single biggest influence to success in reading and writing and that most children love being read to.
But just what is it about reading books with young children that is so beneficial for speech and language development?
  1. Firstly, babies enjoy being held, feeling safe and secure in your arms and being close to you. Babies aren't born with fully developed eyesight but their hearing is pretty much fully developed at birth and your voice is very familiar and comforting to them. This makes sharing books a lovely suitable activity for newborn babies. By starting book sharing at birth or even when they are still in the womb it can help establish a love of books and a passion for reading.
  2. Through listening to your voice as you read, babies and young children are hearing and thus learning the speech sounds of your families native language, preparing them for speech.
  3. Through listening to you read stories your child is learning about the rhythm of speech, timing, intonation and intensity which they will use as a model for their own speech.
  4. Sharing books helps develop concentration and attention span.
  5. Books help introduce new experiences, ideas and vocabulary.
  6. Children learn important book awareness skills such as which way up to hold a book and how to turn the pages from front to back, what a cover page and title page are and what an author and illustrator do. They also learn concepts of print such as identifying text and images, knowing we read text from left to right, top to bottom, that text remains constant and does not change and more complex skills such as knowing what a letter, word and sentence are.  

What type of books are best for my child?
The best books for this age are board or cloth books with simple, clear, real to life images. Books with repetitive and calming/ soothing language are great for building connections and a love of story time.
Some of my Favourites for this age are;
  • Kissed by the Moon- Alison Lester
  • Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes- Mem Fox
  • Time for bed-  Mem Fox
  • Baby Ways- Better Beginnings
  • I Went Walking- Sue Williams
Interaction books are great for this age, such as lift the flap, puppet and touch and feel type books. Books with bright pictures and small amounts of text that represent familiar pictures, actions, themes and routines for the child are best.
Some of my Favourites for this age are;
  • "That's not my" collection by Usborne"
  • Spot books- Eric Hill
  • Noisy peekaboo books- DK
  • Dear Zoo- Rod Campbell
  • I Went Walking- Sue Williams
  • Heads and Tails- Matthew Van Fleet
  • Let's Cuddle Peter Rabbit- Warne
  • Who am I? Cuddly Animals- DK
  • Brown Bear Brown Bear- Bill Martin, Eric Carle
  • Where is the Green Sheep?- Mem Fox
  • Who is Drivind?- Leo Timmers
At this age books with simple story structure/ sequence are ideal. Children at this age often enjoy more imaginary themes such as fairies or space. They also start to enjoy books on topics of particular interest to them so it's good to make selections based around areas of interest for your child. They may also start to enjoy some simple non fiction texts.
Some of my all time favourites (as there are far too many to list!) for this age are;
  • Where is the Green Sheep?- Mem Fox
  • We're Going on a Bear Hunt- Michael Rosin
  • Goodnight Goodnight construction site- Sherri Duskey Rinker
  • The very Hungry Caterpillar- Eric Carle
  • The very Busy Spider- Eric Carle
  • Each Peach Pear Plum- Janet and Allan Ahlberg
  • Fairytales such as Little Red Riding hood
  • The Gruffalo- Julia Donaldson
  • I'm a Dirty Dinosaur- Janeen Brian
  • Hairy Maclary series- Lynley Dodd
  • No Matter What- Debi Gliori
  • Finger Worms and other books by Herve' Tullet
  • The Foggy Foggy Forest- Nick Sharrat
4years +:
Any and all that they are interested in. By now it is highly likely chiidren have developed a strong passion for books and have their own interests and are able to make selections based on this.

For more information on recommended books for children and research into sharing books with young children please check out the BETTER BEGINNINGS website.

I would highly recommend joining your local public library for an endless supply of books.

How can I get the most out of Reading Books with my child?
To start with make sure you choose your times for sharing books with your child appropriately. Most families often have 'story time' set in a routine, like before bed but this does not mean that is the only time you should share books with your child. Spontaneous book sharing is so important and can be just what your child needs to reconnect with you after a busy morning or a tiring outing or it just may fit in nicely to your play. For this reason We have books located all over our house making them easily accessible at any time.  If you are interested in learning how to make spaces for reading in your home click here.
For book sharing times it's nice to have a quiet space that is free from noises and distractions It should be comfortable for both you and your child so it's an enjoyable time for everyone. Never rush or hurry story time. If you are short on time and need to get on to other things, be clear with your child and let them know this. You could say, "I understand you want me to read to you, I would like that too. I will read one story with you now and then I need to hang out the washing. If you like we can read again after lunch" etc. This will allow you to both just relax and enjoy the experience with both of you having clear expectations.
In the first couple years
Talk about the pictures on the cover page and what the story/ book might be about. Read the title of the story. Introduce the Author and Illustrator.
Show your child how to turn the pages and then let them do it.
Point to pictures and talk about them. Encourage your child to point to pictures. Provide simple labels for objects. Add extra details.
Encourage your child to hold the book if they like.
Later on
Talk about the Author and Illustrator and what they do.
Ask your child just from looking at the cover what they think the story may be about.
Encourage your child to think about what they think might happen next in the story. Model this if need be.
Explain things your child does not yet understand that may come up.
Emphasise the words when appropriate and 'become' the characters. Try different voices and make it entertaining and fun.
Let your child join in with familiar parts.
Re- read the same story as much as your child desires.
Let your child choose the books.
Ask questions about things that happen, feelings, objects etc and engage them in the story.
Enjoy, Enjoy, Enjoy

Follow My Little Bookcase for book reviews and wonderful activity ideas to enhance your book sharing experience.


Wishing you all many Book Sharing times.




Sunday 14 September 2014

Learning and using names of familiar people with fun & simple homemade toys!

Young children love seeing photos of themselves and other people they know. There is so much opportunity for using and developing language by looking at family photos, pointing out who is who and talking about them with your children.
This idea is a fun and interactive alternative or extension to the 'people I know' photo flip books families often create for their children. I do love those photo flip books however, these simple to make toys offer a whole new dimension to the learning and language opportunities.  

Suitable For

Roughly 12months through to 8years, although most effective for 3yrs plus.
Suitable for children with language delay, a motor speech disorder or typically developing children

Speech and Language Focus

  1. 12months-2yrs: Identifying familiar people and learns the names of these people.                 May not be able to verbalise the names but can point to 'mum'.                                             May respond with a smile or nod or a shake of the head when shown a familiar person toy and asked is this 'Dad?'. Single words may appear.
  2. 17months-2.5yrs: Matching a spoken name to a picture of that person.                           Attempts to verbalise and name familiar people through a variety of play.                           Child begins to combine 2 actions in play and two word combinations may appear. Child represents real life situations through play, such as bedtime routine.                                        
  3. 2.5yrs + Role play interactions and conversations between these familiar people, practicing conversational skills such as turn taking, making requests, asking questions and answering questions. Able to respond to who, what, when and where questions.
  4. 3yrs + Emergence of storytelling skills. Will act out simple familiar events with the toys.
  5. 3.5yrs + Children use language, gesture and imagination to create scenes and invent scripts. Child acts as the author and director of the 'toy actors'.
Remember children's development varies greatly at this young age. It is common that they may progress through these skills at different rates.
At 34months Hman is working on two word combinations or 2 syllable words.
He can say Mum, but not mummy. He cannot yet say Dad or either of his siblings names. However, even though he is relatively non verbal due to his Apraxia he can act out a conversation and represents real life events through his play.  It appears, when I watch him play that he is creating stories or perhaps acting out things that have previously happened. I very much wish I could get inside his head as he has no voice for that internal dialogue and that breaks my heart. 

Other Learning

Social and Emotional- developing secure connections to key people in their life.
                                   - establishing routines and representing these through play.

You will need

All you need to make these is some photos of people who your child associates with regualarly. For example, people in their immediate family, Grandparents, Carers, Friends. You can easily print some off onto printer paper. If you can find photos or take a few with family members in interesting and varied poses the children really love them. I lamenated my photos for extra durability. I would highly recommend doing so if possible, especially as older babies and toddlers still like to explore with their mouths.
Once cut out and laminated I taped each figure to some old film canisters. If you don't have any of these you could use any small tub or block to hold them up.


Once cut out and laminated I taped each figure to some old film canisters. If you don't have any of these you could use any small tub or block to hold them up.


Ta Da!

How to Play

For younger children 12months- 3yrs
At this age the toys will more likely be used as chew toys or throw things unless direct adult interaction is provided. I would start by looking at them with your youngster and naming who they are. "look, there is Nana" model language for your child and include extra detail, such as "Nana is wearing glasses on her eyes, she is smiling, she must be happy" Other ideas include, "where is Daddy? pause oh, there he is, pause, what is Daddy doing? pause he is running!" and "I can see cat, cat is hungry. What does she say? pause (wait for an attempt) that's right she says meow!" "Where is cats ears, tail etc?"
As they get older you will be able to ask them to point to or grab certain toys "get Baby brother"
Once they have success with that you may be able to ask them to find people with certain characteristics, such as "who is wearing the hat? find the toy wearing the hat, who is it?"

Remember to also focus on 'joint attention' with your young toddler and make sure to make eye contact when asking questions, even if you don't expect a correct verbal response.
For older children 2.5yrs plus
There are so many ways. They should be able to play more independently, however if your child has a language delay or speech disorder playing together is still critically important so you are able to be a guide, a narrator and a model.
You could set up some invitations using various objects as props to perhaps stimulate play, such as;
Various Small Parts- here we took them outside on a beautiful sunny day
Blocks or Duplo -
Dollhouse - alternatively use a cardboard box to make a model doll house. This is brilliant for role playing routines such as bedtime. Daddy reads me a story then gives me a kiss and turns out the light. Then I go to sleep.
Other People Toys - Miss M likes to play with herself dressed as a Princess with her Princesses. She is able to use all her imagination and creativity and she comes up with the most elaborate stories.

Added Extras

Obviously real life interactions with familiar people are essential and these will happen in everyday situations.
 However, here are some games you could play with people in your immediate family, your children's friends or any willing familiar people.
1. Roll the ball - have everyone sit in a circle with legs stretched apart. The idea is to roll a ball to each other but first attempting the name of the person you are about to roll to. Play along to music for added fun.
2. Family hide and seek - my family like to play this in pairs with Miss M (Miss independent) on her own. I pair up with Hman or Bubba and my husband the other. One team counts while the others hide then goes on a hunt to find the rest of the family! "who shall we find?" "where is Daddy?" allows for lots of modelling and opportunity in a fun play based way. 
Click here to read another post I wrote exploring this idea
Wishing you all the Power of Communication

Saturday 6 September 2014

Knock Knock! A fun Language game for babies and toddlers

This little game just evolved from our play and it was so engaging and fun for both Bubba and Hman.
It was so engaging for them as it is repetitive and we all know how much children like repetition. Repetitive play is so important in building the pathways in the brain, skills need to be repeated in order to become automatic and with speech disorders such as Apraxia, creating those pathways can take a whole lot of repeating! With a catchy little song, that we made up,  and fun words it really inspired Hman to make many verbal attempts. During the game I was able to focus on many of our targets whilst also encouraging those attempts at speech. I'm sure this little game will be requested to play again.

Suitable For

All children, 6months - 4years of age.

Speech and language Focus

Words -    knock,    door,    open,    hello,   bye. (either watching you model them and hearing them, or attempting them) Depending on which toys you use either their names, eg. cat, teddy, dolly and what they say or the sounds they make. (knock was actually a good word for us as Hman has 'rock', although the front then back movement of the tongue is really advanced in knock we were started on a sound he could produce, we didn't get 'knock' but we did get 'ock' which I was extremely happy with. Any attempt is a huge success and deserves praise.
Joint Attention - making eye contact with you when making requests and interacting
Turn Taking - turn taking is an extremely important skill in the development of language as it is essential for conversations. Depending on the age of your children, they may be able to have some power over the turn taking by saying or signing 'my turn' 'your turn'.

Joining Two Words - If your child has some single words they may be ready to attempt two word combinations such as 'knock, knock' 'door open' 'hello ____'

Other learning

Social Skills - Greetings! acting out greetings. Turn Taking

What you will need

A door! Any door in your house will do. We just used the door to Bubba's bedroom but you could alter this game to use a cupboard or even a large box.
Some toys! Stuffed animals or teddies work well for this game. It's a good idea if your child has apraxia to pick some that have any of your focus sounds or that your child may be able to attempt to say and have some success at. Leave or alter any tricky ones. For example, we called the caterpillar 'Bug'...  'Big   Bug'! As  'b' is a focus sound and caterpillar is just too long complex for him to attempt just yet.


How to Play

This is how we played however it's good to follow your child's lead an play on their interest level.
1. First I choose one toy to 'hide' behind the door by quickly sneaking it their while Hman (pretended) to hide his eyes and Bubba sat waiting in anticipation. I shut the door
2. Then we knocked on the door and both boys LOVED this. We sang
knock, knock, knock. Knock on the door
knock, knock, knock. Who Is Hiding? 
 Using the sing song voice is excellent for little ones to pick up the rhythm of the words and join in.
3. Then I asked "who could it be, who is hiding?" Sometimes I would ask "do you think it is Bunny or Dog?" Making sure he is making eye contact with me when appropriate.
4. Then we'd open the door and oh wow, "who is it?" "it is Bunny"
5. I would model "hello Bunny" and encourage Hman to say Bunny. I changed this to just the 'b' sound as he couldn't get bunny and then I adjusted it to just getting his lips together giving him plenty opportunity to watch my lips and practice. Rewarding any attempt at this was very important in developing his confidence and his feelings of success. He just laps up any praise and gets so excited to know we think he is super clever. Remember to encourage and praise attempts.
6. Then we'd make Bunny hop and hop around with him and we made up different actions for each of the toys. After a minute or two when they had had enough we'd say "bye bye Bunny (dog, bug, frog etc)" and start over again. Our focus for Hman was on the 'bye bye' and Bubba enjoyed blowing kisses.
7. For the next round Hman picked a toy to hide behind the door. My focus was getting him to practice turn taking and understanding "my turn' and 'your turn'. The next go it was my turn to hide the toy again and so on. Bubba was just happy to be a part of it all!

This was just so much fun and great for both ages to participate in and I'm super sure you'll have lot's of laughs playing this one!
Wishing you all the power of communication!



Friday 5 September 2014


Mum ~ a little word with a big meaning
Wednesday the 27th of August was the day I heard that little word full of meaning come from the little boy of mine ~Mum~ and it made me weep.
He was 32months
In the past there have been times when a sound like Mum has come from my precious boy but those times were always an accidental production of sound, a sound that just came out.
On this day he clearly looked at me and wanting my attention said MUM, with absolute purpose. I was completely shocked and did ask him to repeat watching his jaw and lips to be sure he was actually in control of the sounds he was producing, He was!
You see my little man, Hman, has Childhood Apraxia of Speech and although he knows exactly what he wishes to say the message from his brain to the speech mechanisms don't work. Every word is a struggle... actually forget every word, every sound!
Read more about Apraxia here
To say MUM you need to have good control of your jaw and to move it up then down then up. You need to be able to put your lips together. To do this you need to be able to hold your tongue inside your mouth. You need to use your voice box. Most of us would never even think to consider these things, I know I never did before learning about Hman's diagnoses. Jump to now and watching jaw control and lip position has become habit and my husband and I are often found mouthing words so we can get a good feel of what it takes to execute it to see if it would be a good word for Hman to practice to add to his target words. His focus sounds at the moment are the bilabial sounds, being 'b' and 'p'.
I just have to say that MUM happened to be Miss M's (4) first word too!!
She was calling for me all over the place from as early as 8-9months Mum Mum Mum Mum till I was quite sure I'd go crazy if she kept it up. There was never any doubt over her speech development, which is why Hman's lack of speech was so confusing to me. I remember celebrating her first word by smothering her in kisses and gloating cause I had won that prized position being her first word. It felt good, as it does when your child learns any new skill. But I have to say on Wednesday the 27th of August 2014 upon hearing that sweet voice utter that little word with such purpose... my heart swelled. It swelled full of pride for my champion little man. Then it grew some more with awe at his incredibly fierce determination to communicate. It grew with hope, hope that he will overcome this hurdle and finally love, so much love till it felt like my heart might just burst into a zillion tiny pieces. But it didn't burst and break, like it has so many times before for my precious boy, this time it stayed whole. It was the hope that kept it intact.
 Full of the love and pride and awe at the awesomeness!
Do you want to hear it?
I'm so proud that I just have to share. This video was taken the following day and I am pleased to report a full week later and he is still using 'Mum' when he wants me instead of grunting and pulling on me!
Isn't that just the best?!

Thursday 4 September 2014


"imagine if you will, a little boy who has a dream, a dream to communicate. He wishes he could answer your questions so that you understand his response. He wishes he could ask for clarification when he doesn't know exactly what you want him to say or do. He wishes to connect with his friends in their verbal play, or to raise his hand in eagerness to answer his teacher. Because in his mind, he knows what he wants to say, yet he just can't get it out. Imagine this little boy is yours"
~Speaking of Apraxia~Leslie A. Lindsay~
Well this little boy is mine

I began my blogging journey over at Playing and Learning Begins at Home . While there a wrote a few posts that I would like to share with you here on our journey so far with Apraxia.
Apraxia Awareness Day
Our story of recognising their was an issue and going through the process of diagnoses
Swinging, Jumping, Fish Oil and more
The early days on coming to terms with what we were up against
Hman's power words and a funny story about them!
Wishing you all the power of communication