Arts and crafts can be powerful (and fun!) tools to address your child’s speech and language development at home.

It’s a colorful and creative way to engage a child while they practice receptive and expressive language skills.

As speech therapists we often use arts and crafts for speech therapy to address receptive and expressive language issues.

Receptive language is the component of speech that refers to an individual’s ability to comprehend language, while expressive concerns the ability to communicate effectively.

Both of these language skills are essential to the arts and crafts process, which makes arts and crafts a perfect activity for language development.

When you engage your child with arts and crafts, approach it with three goals; 1) to practice receptive language skills, 2) to encourage expressive language skills and 3) to enjoy the emotionally therapeutic benefits.

Receptive language helps a child with things like making sense of instructions. When being creative at home, make a game out of your child’s art in order to tap into receptive language development. When coloring, provide instructions regarding where to color, when to color, and with what shade to fill the area in.

You can even provide support by creating a simple visual schedule for them to follow that shows all of the steps in the activity to keep them on track.  Adding some structure to craft time will compel them to pause, listen, and process the instructions given.

Expressive language helps your child with things like communicating what they need, like, or want.

As your child works through the instructions you’ve provided, keep the coloring supplies out of reach. Allow your child’s receptive skills work to process and understand what is being asked, then encourage them to utilize their expressive skills to obtain the correct material needed to complete the task. This will provide an opportunity for standard word recognition and pronunciation.

You can help your child identify the correct color and encourage repetitive pronunciation and talk about the color to provide your child with even more language!

Arts and Crafts should be fun and easy going. Create a calm environment. Work on language skills, but don’t force it. Let it happen naturally. If you do, your child will benefit from the emotionally therapeutic benefits of coloring while strengthening their cognitive abilities as well.