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Suffolk Center for Speech


April showers bring May flowers

While April may be over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t grow plants inside or still have success growing plants outside. Using plants is a great way to expand your child’s vocabulary and provide an opportunity to follow directions during planting and watering schedules. Depending on what your child’s goals are will change how you approach this hands-on project.

How can I target multistep directions with plants?

First, let’s talk about following multistep directions. You will need a clear container either an old plastic egg carton, a plastic jar, or a cup, next you’ll need some planting soil, water, and of course your seeds. I like to use snow peas because they are fast-growing. You can either prep your planting area for your child or target their multi-step direction goal and have them locate these items around your house. Next is assembly, printing off directions on how to assemble or giving verbal directions are both great ways to enhancing their listening or reading skills. When working on multistep directions, give both directions using a “first- then” approach. For example, “First place the soil in the cup, then take out two seeds”. Next, check for comprehension by having the child repeat back to me the steps I verbalized, “okay what were the first and second steps?” Lastly is execution, have the child complete the steps for planting a plant that includes watering the plant. Place my seeds at the very edge of the container to make the seed visible so children can view the seeds and later on the roots and stem as the plant starts to grow.

How can you expand your vocabulary using plants?

You can do this in two different ways, discussing the life cycle of a plant or parts of the plant. When discussing the life cycle of the plant, use pictures to show the different stages. For older children, I may wish to include terms such as germination and sprout. For younger learners, I may just provide 4 or 5 stages. Using a handout, have your child cut and paste the different stages into the life cycle using their new vocabulary words. If you planted a live plant, as it starts to grow, have your child identify what stage in the lifecycle the plant is in.

You can also expand vocabulary through the parts of the plant. First teaching and labeling the different parts of the plant and then looking to find those different parts as the plant starts growing. I also like to have my kids create a plant journal. Once a week they write down what they see and draw a picture. It’s a great way to keep children engaged, continue learning and practicing their vocabulary words, and getting excited about nature.

– Alexis

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