Children love to learn and say big words like dinosaur, helicopter and Mandalorian! Sometimes it’s hard for them to wrap their mouths around the sounds and syllables in these new and motivating words.
Try breaking these big words into smaller pieces or syllables. You can talk in slow motion to mark each syllable in the word (e.g. di-no-sour). Think of each syllable as a beat. Clapping out the beats with your hands or drumming the beats on the table are natural ways to emphasize the segments.
Try these playful ideas:
· Lego bricks can be visual props that demonstrate how a big word can be broken into smaller pieces. Each block represents a syllable. As you slowly say a syllable, pull a brick out of the bucket. Snap the bricks together to make a word, then break it apart again.
· Make playdoh snakes and use a plastic knife to cut apart a long word into smaller chunks. For example, a word like ‘helicopter’ would make 4 little playdoh chunks.
· Many fruits (e.g. watermelon, banana) and vegetables (cucumber) have 2 or more syllables. Cut out pictures from grocery store flyers. Then snip the picture into the same number of syllable pieces like a little puzzle. For example, a picture of a cucumber would be cut into 3 puzzle pieces because it has 3 syllables.
· From a bowl of fish crackers, remove one fish for every syllable you say. How many fish did you get?
· Play a guessing game by having your child guess the big word that you are saying in slow motion e.g. Can you guess this big word, all-i-ga-tor?.
· Books are a great place to highlight BIG words. Check out Never Ever Shout in a Zoo by Karma Wilson.
Written by Kelly McReelis
Speech-Language Therapy Assistant