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Early Intervention Speech Therapy

Art-Based Language Activities

Published April 12, 2010 2:54 PM by Stephanie Bruno-Dowling
Lately I have really enjoyed the challenge of finding creative, yet appropriate lesson plans for the children on my caseload. I find that they love following the picture directions to complete each step. In addition, completing an art project allows them to feel a sense of satisfaction and pride that they made a finished product. Many of the children I see struggle with just simple everyday daily tasks, so to actually have a completed art project that they made really gives a boost to their self confidence, as well as their language skills. I see their desire to communicate soar because they want to SHOW what they made and TELL about it!  

Below I've provided a list of art activities, as well as the language skills you can address in each lesson, although you can certainly think of others!

Skills/goals to work on when using Art-Based Language Activities include: colors and vocabulary words, sequencing steps to complete a task, making requests for colors, shapes, tools, etc., describing what they made and retelling the steps.

  • Play-Doh—This is always a fun activity with very little to no planning necessary. Pick spring colors for your play-doh (yellow, pink, lavender, etc.) and spring cookie cutter shapes (a bunny, flowers, chicks, etc.). Talk about the colors and shapes you are using. Sing as your roll the doh and make shapes. "This is the way we roll the doh, roll the doh, roll the doh!" Afterward, have the child show which shape they made.
  • Painting with Stamps—Once again, choose spring colors for your paper and paints and have the children stamp springtime scenes. Have the children "use their words" to make requests for colors and the stamps they would like to use. Smocks are recommended.
  • Tissue Paper Fun—Provide a simple cut out shape with a springtime theme, such as a flower or butterfly. Give the children little pieces of tissue paper to glue all over their shape. Provide picture-based steps for the children to follow.
  • Watercolor Paints —Great for this time of the year. Washes out of clothing easily and is fun for kids. You can provide them with springtime coloring book pages and they can pick the one(s) they want to color. Afterward, have the children tell their classmates at least 3 things they painted in their picture using a "good sentence" (i.e. I painted a yellow flower, a tall tree and a white cloud".

Hope you feel inspired!


Hi Stephanie,

So nice to see your active blog again!

One art project I love to do with all young children is a following direction activity.  Good for shape and color recognition, auditory awareness and processing and cognitive reasoning and basic concept development.

I have an array of shapes in different colors already cut out in front of the child and myself and glue sticks for each.  We sit across from each other.  We each have a blank piece of construction paper in front of us.

I give a direction:  find the big red rectangle (assist as needed)

put it in the middle of the paper; glue it

find 4 small yellow circles.  put them under the red rectangle in a row just touching the bottom of the rectangle--glue them

NOTE:  I do it as well using mine as a model for the child or children(good group activity) to follow to reinforce the shapes, prepositional phrases, colors, etc.

Then find a medium sized green square and put it on the left side above but touching the red rectangle--glue it..

At this point a child might begin to guess we are making a truck or train and they start saying what it is, spointaneously.  Sometimes I need to ask if they can see what we are making.  Use supports along the way until a child is able to begin to identify the item.

The child can then give you directions to make something else.

Little squares can be used to make a final large square.

Quarter moons can become a colorful ball.

Triangle, Square, skinny rectangles, medium rectangles can become a house with a chimney....

Anything goes.  But it is a lot of fun learning sizes, shapes and colors and following directions to learn middle, up, down, left, right, over, under, etc...

Thanks for helping me remember this fun and worthwhile activity!

Wishing you well, Stephanie.


Susan B. Nachimson, , SLP Private Practice April 23, 2010 10:27 PM
Garberville CA

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About this Blog

    Stephanie Bruno Dowling, M.S. CCC-SLP
    Occupation: Speech-Language Pathologist
    Setting: Early Intervention in Delaware County, PA
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