5 Activities at Home I Should Do with My Child to Increase his/her Spontaneous Speech

There are many fun activities that parent can do with their children at home to help develop their children’s spontaneous speech. In this article, the strategies discussed in Catherine’s article, My child can speak but he rarely talks to me spontaneously. What should I do?, will be put in practice.

The suggested activities are prepared and designed to create needs and obstacles that the children cannot fulfil by themselves, or to create temptation for them to comment or ask questions. Once the child displays spontaneous speech, provide reinforcing and meaningful consequence immediately.


1. Photo Shooting Game

Children love cell phones! Their attention can be easily drawn once you take out the phone from your bag!

  1. First, identify the toys or activities the child likes. For example: painting, playdoh, marble maze, etc.
  2. First, present 10 dolls or figurines that your child loves
  3. Set up a pattern of putting the phone in front of each figurine and take a photo;
  4. Set up the temptation by suddenly withholding the phone.
  5. When the child spontaneous says the name of the figurine, present the phone again to take photo.
  6. With repetitions, the child will learn when he makes comment on what he sees, the phone will be presented.

2. Photo Gallery

Children not only love watching on the cell phone, they love to play with it.

  1. Present the phone with the photo on (preferably photos that have some absurdities or special meaning for the child), make sure the phone is not reachable at this point.
  2. When the child spontaneous comments on the photo, such as “mommy with a wig”, “swimming”; then immediately put the phone closer and let the child swipe to the next photo as the reinforcing consequence.

3. Bubble Bath

Bath time not only help building parent-child relationships, it is also a great opportunity to facilitate spontaneous speech.

  1. Gather the floating toys at the bottom of the bath tub, let go of the toys one by one to create the temptation to comment
  2. When your child comments “duck” when he sees the toy float back, squeeze water on his face to deliver fun interesting consequence.

Use bubble wands to make bubbles, fill up water gun, play fishing game with a net, all are activities that you can easily create need that the child cannot fulfil by themselves, and therefore would facilitate your child to communicate with you using spontaneous speech.


4. Indoor Camping

Playing tent is fun.

  1. Find a tent with multiple windows, invite the child to go inside.
  2. Set up temptation by withholding the curtain, when he spontaneous makes request such as “I want to go inside” or “open the door”, open the curtain again as the reinforcing consequence.
  3. Further on, play children’s favourite game Peek-a-boo through different windows. You can say “Peek-a…” and wait for your child to say ‘boo”, once he says it, show your silly face at the window, make it less predictable to increase the fun.
  4. You can also add up reinforcing value of the consequence by delivering your child’s favourite blankie, pillow at the same time when you show your silly face.

5. Salad making

  1. Prepare a big bowl, a spatula, and all the yummy ingredients for salad.
  2. Set up temptation for your child to communicate, e.g.
    1. Have your child help getting certain fruit from the refrigerator, suddenly block the door of the refrigerator until your child spontaneous says ‘open the fridge’;
    2. Put the fruit on top of the shelf that is unreachable for your child, when he spontaneously says ‘it’s too high, help me”, take the fruit down as the reinforcing consequence.

With many ingredients, you may create a variety of temptations, such as ingredients placed in a closed zip log bag, dressing with a tight cap, apple not yet peeled or cut in slices, etc.


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Information provided by

Nicole Kwok
Autism Partnership Case Supervisor
Ms Nicole Kwok obtained a Master of Social Sciences in Counseling from City University of Hong Kong. She joined AP in 2006 as Program Specialist. She was responsible in leading social group and providing one-on-one service, shadowing for kindergarten/ international school and parent training. In 2011, she joined Aoi Pui School as Lead Teacher and helped the school to set up a brand new Cantonese-speaking class. She has experience in formulating IEP, overseeing intervention plan and designing lesson plan. In 2015, she joined back AP as Case Supervisor and is responsible for providing case supervision and parent training for Accelerate families as well as overseas consultation services.

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