Thursday, December 14, 2017

Your Very own Very Hungry Caterpillar

by Lauren Barnett, MA, CCC-SLP

monarch butterfly caterpillars eating a milk weed plant; language development activities to go along with The Very Hungry Caterpillar


One of my favorite things to do is to combine classic children's books with real life activities or events. This helps develop a child's understanding (comprehension) of the words on the page but it also makes connections from literature to real life!


A few days ago we saw it happen again. 


What happened? Well, our Milk Weed plant (aka Butterfly Bush) had a few very tiny (and very hungry!) caterpillars on it.


Over the past few days we've been watching, counting, predicting and reading!


If you do not own a Milk Weed plant, I highly recommend it. They are beautiful with their bright golden yellow flowers. They are interesting with their seed pods that burst with fluff! They grow and re-grow like no plant I've ever encountered (when the caterpillars eat all of the leaves, you think "oh no!" but just wait... in a little while the plant will be covered with leaves again!!) They are conversation starters with neighbors or random people that you encounter in stores who will listen to you tell the story of your very own hungry caterpillars! They are great for the whole family!


I love how the caterpillars start out so very small. Below is a picture of how small we usually see them for the first time, but we've seen them even smaller! You can talk about the different sizes of the caterpillars on your bushes! Big, small, tiny, huge!

a very tiny caterpillar eating a leaf. Activities to go along with The Very Hungry Caterpillar


There are SO many caterpillars on our plants. I counted about two dozen and stopped counting! If your child is working on counting skills, this would be a great activity! If counting to 30 is too hard, count the caterpillars on each branch. I see 3 in the picture below!


3 monarch butterflies on a milk weed plant; activities to go along with The Very Hungry Caterpillar



Watching caterpillars is a great activity for kids of all ages!


We have two kiddos: Big Sister is now 8 years old and Little W is 4. Their language skills are very different! But we like to do things as a family so I am giving some ideas that you can use with kiddos of different ages! Reading together and doing activities together is one of the best things about having a family!


With babies - toddlers, they can just observe and you can talk about what they are doing. Crawling, standing (they do seem to stand up!), eating, searching! You can count and point! Talk about the leaves and flowers. You can touch the leaves (without caterpillars) and talk about not touching the critters!


With older toddlers, you can of course observe, but they are much more active! Have them search for more caterpillars and count them! Talk about where they are. Under the leave. On the leaf. On the seed pod. Near the flowers. I have found that kids love to take pictures. Let them use your phone to take pictures to review later.


With preschoolers, you can begin to connect the story to the real life activity. Bring out a book about caterpillars or the Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.  Talk about similarities and differences. Find a tiny caterpillar and one that you think is big and ready to go make a chrysalis to become a butterfly. They can take pictures, too. Have them share the pictures with friends, family and neighbors! Encourage them to tell about the pictures.


With early elementary schoolers, you can begin to compare and contrast. Use The Very Hungry Caterpillar book and do a chart of the similarities and differences. Bring in the written component by writing words or sentences. You can also discuss the life cycle of the butterfly!


With older elementary schoolers, they can do a research report to find out different kinds of butterflies in your area, information about the migration of the Monarch Butterfly or the types of habitats that butterflies like.  They can work on their teaching skills by creating a book to educate a younger sibling. If they like to take pictures, you can use those pictures in the book!


a caterpillar eating fennel

I do have a confession.... I do not love all caterpillars. There are some that eat my garden plants! My fennel! My parsley! My tomatoes! Noooooo!  Those can be taken care of; mostly we move them to the woods across the street. They sure are beautiful....but not good for my garden!


The wonderful thing is Monarch Butterfly caterpillars only eat Milk Weed. I had that plant right next to all of my favorite garden plants and I never saw them close to my plants!


I would love to encourage you to get a milk week to add to your landscaping! They grow well in pots and in the ground! You'll be delighted with the experience of having Your Very own Very Hungry Caterpillars! (and just wait until you see the beautiful chrysalises! It's like a treasure hunt trying to find them!)


caterpillars on a milk weed plant; language development activities to go along with The Very Hungry Caterpillar


Inspired? Please share this with a friend!


Let me know if you have a Milk Weed plant and if yours have caterpillars on them?

Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Please know that I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, November 30, 2017

5 Tips to Get the Most out of Speech Therapy


by Lauren Barnett, NA, CCC-SLP


If you are considering Speech therapy or have been referred to a Speech Pathologist (SLP) by a doctor or your child's school, there are a few things you should know about to get the most out of this experience! 


1. Get A thorough review of the thorough evaluation 2. Find A therapist that you like. 3. Understand and DO homework! 4. Ask questions 5. Get school staff and the family involved. 


Ok - now for some details about each of these!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

READ: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom with language development activities for Preschoolers

by Lauren Barnett, MA, CCC-SLP



We are starting our Parents and Preschoolers READ series with a classic! Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr and John Archambault is a cute, rhyming story of the little letters trying to all climb up a coconut tree.


While there is a bit is mischievousness 😏 in this story, it has great repetitions of the names of the letters and is a must read for all preschoolers!


We decided that we would have the letters in our names "climb" our tree!


First, we got to experience a Mystery Bag. This is a favorite for my own children and many of my therapy clients. Anything in a bag is more exciting than if it's just on the table! You'll need brown or white lunch bags, the letters in your child's name (we used a craft cutting machine, but you can print them out on plain paper and cut them out), and for later you'll need yarn and tape!



I filled the bag with the letters in their names! They got to dump out the letters and put them in the correct order. Little W is still working on the spelling of his name, so this is a great activity for him right now!

Spelling Our Names




After we correctly spelled our names we took our letters outside. We used the rough bark on the tree to keep our letters secured! Just a note, even a light breeze blew them right off! So, grab that tape and tape the letters on if you need to.


Letters on the Tree!



After we finished our names (and they spelled out both their blog names - Big Sister and Little W, as well as their real names!), we took the letters inside for our final activity!



Taping our Letters onto Yarn


We laid out the letters one more time and taped them to a long piece of yarn. I then tied the yarn to our chandelier. They loved seeing their names dangle over the dinner table!!



Our Name Mobile!



This was a super fun set of activities that both of my children enjoyed!

If you are not interested in having your child's name hanging in your dining room, you could tape the letters with the yarn going sideways like a pendant garland and hang it across their bedroom door! Or pin up the ends on the wall in their room! So many possibilities!!

Each time they look at it, they will remember the fun but also have a positive experience with letter recognition and books!


We grabbed the Chick Chicka 1-2-3 by Bill Martin Jr and Michael Sampson. It is the same cute, rhyming pattern but with numbers 1 through 20 then the 10s numbers to 100! It's great, too!!


We also did a bonus video with this one. We found the movie version of the book while we were at the library.


Chicka Chicka Boom Boom ... The Movie



It was a great way to end our day!

Want these for your own home collection? You can purchase them on Amazon. Or grab them at your local library!!


           

Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I may receive an affiliate commission. Please know that I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Parents and Preschoolers READ!



Want to do more than just get through a book with your preschooler?

I know you know that there are so many good things you can do with books with small children to develop their communication skills. The problem is, parents don't always know what to do. Or they know what to do but lack the inspiration to do it.


Come along on our journey into 35 of the most popular children's books. I'll provide ideas and activities, special moments that we've shared and some blunders along the way!


We can laugh together, cry together (some of these children's books make this mama's heart swell!) and learn together, too!


Check out our newest blog series: Parents and Preschooler READ!





Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Please know that I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, June 30, 2017

Reading with Preschoolers - Tips to make reading more fun!


by Lauren Barnett, MA, CCC-SLP

Mom and Son having fun together reading a popular children's book


Do you love to read with your preschooler or does it get a little boring to read the same books over and over and over and over?


I go back and forth between super excited about a book and totally bored with it. But, I have found a few ways to make it more exciting that I would love to share with you!


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Field Trip to a Fish Store to develop Speech and Language Skills

by Lauren Barnett, MA, CCC-SLP

close up picture of fish in a tank



If you've read my blog for any amount of time, you'll know that I love field trips! Now, these are not class field trips, just family field trips! Almost any store, building, restaurant or location can become a fabulous field trip. Use can use these outings as a way to develop your child's speech and language skills!

Our most recent trip was to the fish store. Do you know how many cool things there are to see at a fish store?!

So, to be completely honest, I do not love fish tanks and all the stuff that goes with them. We have them, but they are my husband's projects! I like to be emotionally supportive, but they are not my thing. 😁

However, the fish store is awesome!

Friday, April 7, 2017

I love red lights - and why I think you should, too!

By Lauren Barnett, MA, CCC-SLP

red light picture for a blog post about using stop lights to work on communication skills


Do you dread stopping at another red light before you arrive at your destination? Do you feel like that time is just a waste? I sure did! They frustrated me like few things can!


But I would like to share with you what has gotten me to change my mind completely!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Happy 4th Birthday, Baby! Speech and Language Skills that a 4 Year Old Will Develop

by Lauren Barnett, MA, CCC-SLP


My son just turned four! It seems unbelievable to me because I feel like just the other day he was this little  bundle of joy who couldn't do anything for himself! Now, he is becoming a very independent little man!

I love to take milestone moments like birthdays as reminders to look at what my children should be doing at their current age.

So let's look together at the speech and language skills that will develop and my child over the next year!


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

4 Reasons Why the CCC is Important



by Lauren Barnett, MA, CCC-SLP



Last time, I talked about what those funny little letters after a Speech-Language Pathologist's name mean and how we get them. Missed it? Read it here!


But why are those letters important?


ASHA (the American Speech-Language Hearing Association) is our governing body and says "ASHA-Certified Professionals are extensively trained to identify speech, language and hearing issues at the early stages, help prevent them in certain patients and treat them in others — these professionals are dedicated to improving lives."


There are many reasons why it's important to have a Certified Speech-Language Pathologist working with you or your loved one when there are communication issues. Here are 4 important reasons:


7.7% of American children have a voice, language or swallowing disorder

7.5 million Americans have trouble using their voices

60% of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have hearing loss

50 million Americans experience hearing loss



Those are big numbers and that means it is likely that someone you know has a communication issue or has someone in their family with one. These disorders and diagnoses need more than a tutor, a teacher or a "wait and see" approach.


In addition to finding a Certified SLP to work with your family, it's important to find a therapist that you connect with. Find a therapist who will keep you up to date with what they are working on and why. I always encourage friends and family members as well as potential new clients to shop around and see who is in their area that they want to work with.


It's likely that you will spend a good amount of time with this person or they will be spending time with your loved one, it's important that you like them and feel that you are on the same page with goals and the progression of therapy. While you likely do not have the educational background that the SLP does, you know your child or your parent and YOU are the expert on them!


I encourage families to look at the blogs and websites as well as social media outlets to get a feel for the therapist. While you are looking, check out mine!

My blog: iHeartSpeech.com is the place where I write about activities and information about speech and language development!

Facebook: Facebook.com/BarnettTherapy is the place where I post about different activities, crafts and ideas as well as articles and random things. They are ideas gathered from all over the web!

Instagram: Instagram.com/iHeartSpeech is the place where I (sometimes, when I remember) share the behind the scenes things that I do as a mom, speech pathologist and as a business owner.



Come visit me on social media. Leave a comment! I'd love to see you there!





Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Please know that I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sunday, January 8, 2017

What does CCC-SLP mean anyway?

By Lauren Barnett, MA, CCC-SLP


Do you have those times when you realize people have no idea what it is that you do?


I had the opportunity this week to have a student observer join me for therapy and paperwork/planning time. She is doing an internship-like class where she'll shadow me and also another SLP to see what it is that we do and what Speech-Language Pathology is all about.


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