I have speech therapy water ideas for you. They are fun, functional, and “free.”
My outdoor-loving children inspired these ideas. We spend quite a lot of time playing with the hose, buckets, cups, rain barrel, and a water table. As most of you know, one child is a late talker and I have seen quite a lot of progress during our “water speech therapy sessions!” As a bonus, he is having so much FUN!
Speech Therapy Water Ideas
Below are fun ideas for water play:
- Play with a water table, cups, and boats
- Take turns spraying the hose
- Jump in and out of sprinklers
- Fill up buckets with water and have fun splashing, playing with boats, and filling up cups
- Make bubbles with water and soap
Below are sample speech therapy goals you can target while playing with water. Most speech therapy water ideas can be adapted for different ages and levels quite easily.
Below are sample speech therapy goals you can target while playing with water. They are divided by skill area. Most speech therapy water ideas can be adapted for different ages and levels quite easily.
If your child is working on any of the sounds below (left column), pick a word and water toys and begin functional speech therapy practice!
If you are new and confused on how to practice articulation at home, we have a free step-by-step guide at our articulation therapy page for how to do speech/articulation therapy at home. Also, you can access free word lists!
If you are all up to speed on articulation therapy, parents or professionals, but need specific games and ideas, cue sheets, and guides - read more at Articulation Therapy Materials & Guide.
Early Language Goals
Below are speech therapy water ideas for targeting early developing language skills.
- Attributes: Name wet and dry objects. Talk about which cups are full and which are empty.
- Vocabulary: Name all the objects that go in the water, that need to be washed, animals that live in water
- Sorting: Sort water toys by color, size, or attribute
- Verbs: Practice “pour,” “spill,” “splash,” “fill,” and “dump,” as you play
- Sentence expansion: Practice 3-4 word sentences, “I put water in _____,” “Fill_____up with water”
Advanced Language Goals
Below are speech therapy water ideas to use for children working on “later developing” concepts.
- Expressive & Receptive Language: Welcome to the speech therapy water challenge! You need a hose or a bucket of water. That is it! With these tools, you can practice giving and following directions while focusing on spatial concepts. Set an “obstacle course” and then tell the other player to complete it. For example, say “spray the rock with the hose that is in front of the tree.” If the person completes it, he/she gets a point. This game is fun, and it targets giving and following directions with concepts such as “next to,” “in front of,” “behind,” “left,” and “right”
- Story Telling: Create tales about sailing across a sea or down a river as you play outside with a bucket, water hose, or puddle. Get creative!
- Categorization: Name all the animals that live in the ocean and/or lake, talk about what can and can’t get wet, which animals like to swim, etc...
Executive Functioning: Toddler to Early Elementary Students
Executive functioning skills are the abilities to plan, control impulses and emotions, multi-task, pay and shift attention, and organize. Executive functioning skills will continue to develop as the frontal lobe continues to grow; however, you can start things off on the right foot!
- Plan out everything needed to play with water such as buckets, hose, boats, water shoes, or swimsuit
- Sequence steps needed to complete a game. Focus on using sequence words while discussing steps (i.e., FIRST get the sprinkler, NEXT attach it to the hose)
- Talk about safety/rules when playing with water.
Following Directions: Preschool to Early Elementary
Following directions requires a person to know vocabulary, have working memory skills, and adequate attention.
Below are practice ideas for following directions while playing with water. They are easy to come up with in the moment. Just pay attention to the “direction” words you are using and know of your child’s vocabulary level.
Sequential: This direction is multi-step. Something has to be done first, second, etc..
- First, fill the green cup and then the blue one.
- First, turn on the water. Next, fill up the buckets.
Before/After: This is a temporal direction. Your child has to do something before or after he/she does something else. This is TRICKY!
- Before you fill up the buckets, fill up the cups.
- Spray the duck with water before you spray the boat.
Spatial: Give a direction with a spatial aspect (under, over, above)
- Put the duck under the bucket.
- Put the buckets next to the water squirter.
Basic: Basic means one-step, simple directions. If your child is having trouble, start here!
- Give me a spoon
- Push the boat
- Spray the flowers
Find more speech therapy ideas for the home here!