Speech Therapy
Water Ideas

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!

Using water for speech therapy practice at home

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. 

Articulation

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.

Sounds


Initial


Medial


Final


B

Boat

Above

Tub

D

Done

Puddle

Red

F

Fun

Playful

Off

G

Go

Again

Dig

J

Joy

Imagine

Hug

K

Cold

Looking

Duck

L

Love

Filling

Pool

M

More

Summer

Swim

N

Need

Canoe

On

P

Put

Happy

Drop

R

Round

Carry

Pour

S

Soak

Outside

Grass

T

Tall

Water

Next

V

Vacation

Over

Above

Z

Zip

Busy

Please

TH

Thank you

Something

Beneath

CH

Children

Picture

Beach

SH

Ship

Pushing

Splash

Early Language Goals

Below are speech therapy water ideas for targeting early developing language skills.

  1. Attributes: Name wet and dry objects. Talk about which cups are full and which are empty. 
  2. Vocabulary: Name all the objects that go in the water, that need to be washed, animals that live in water
  3. Sorting: Sort water toys by color, size, or attribute
  4. Verbs: Practice “pour,” “spill,” “splash,” “fill,” and “dump,” as you play
  5. 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.

  1. 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”
  2. 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!
  3. 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!

  1. Plan out everything needed to play with water such as buckets, hose, boats, water shoes, or swimsuit
  2. 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)
  3. 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!


› Water



Bridget is an ASHA certified, practicing speech-language pathologist. She is passionate about providing parents with information on child speech and language development as well as provide functional, easy activities to do at home! Parents have the power to make a real difference. Follow Bridget at Facebook and Pinterest for more fun!

Author of  child language development eBook series