Few people will disagree that exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. In addition, parents are encouraged to ensure that their children have lots of exercise as gross motor co-ordination and core strength has been associated with improved academic performance.
Has anyone, however, considered strengthening their child’s tongue?
The tongue is the most important articulator of speech, and as it is a muscle, it needs a regular workout which includes stretching and strengthening.
One of the ways of improving your child’s oral motor skills is through drinking and playing games (sucking/blowing) with a straw.
Here a few ideas to do with your child:
Children love blowing bubbles. Place some dishwashing liquid and food colouring into a glass and let them blow into the mixture until all the bubbles flow over the edge of the glass.
Blow a ping pong ball, marble or feather in a maze. Make it even more fun when you and your child have a competition to see who can blow the feather or ball the furthest.
Drink juice out of a cup or juice box with a straw.
Use straws to blow paint across a page.
Launch straw rockets.
Suck up pieces of paper shaped into different items and transfer them into another container without allowing them to fall.
These games will help your child develop strong lip muscles, tongue retraction, suck-swallow-breath co-ordination, and correct jaw position, which encourages increased speech clarity.