When I was working as a speech-language pathologist in the schools, I would see students with a wide range of ages and communication challenges each day. Even though I tried to group children together who had similar targeted goals, it never worked out perfectly, so I needed simple activities that I could adapt at a moment’s notice to meet the needs of all my students to cut down on my planning time. This is a perfect example of an activity that I could use for a wide variety of ages and targets, and it’s super fun, too!
Texture Eggs: A Sensory Play and Language Activity
I originally created these eggs for my own twins when they were around 14 months old for an Easter-themed discovery basket, which was a huge hit with them! Just a note of caution- I did use small objects on some of these, so if your little ones are still mouthing, please supervise closely just in case an item pops off. All of the colors and textures were very stimulating for them, and I added an additional sensory element by filling some of the eggs with dried beans before decorating. My (then) babies loved shaking the eggs to find which ones were noisy!
Making your own set is pretty simple, and if you already have a crafty stash you may not even need to buy anything new! I just took some cheap plastic eggs, filled a few with beans (you could fill with anything- rice, dried pasta, beads, etc.) for sound effects, and then hot-glued them shut. Then I perused my craft materials for items with interesting colors and textures that I could hot glue to the outside of the eggs. In the set above, you can see that I used small pompoms, part of some feather trim, tinsel, thick yarn, plastic gems, sparkly pipe cleaners, and buttons. My original set also included eggs covered in felt and fabric scraps and even leather scraps (not pictured).
Speech and Language Activities
Here are some ways these texture eggs could be used to develop speech and language skills at home or in a therapy setting:
- Hide the eggs around the room. Have children find the eggs and describe them to you using their targeted skills (i.e. correct speech sounds for articulation goals, smooth speech for fluency goals, a certain number of attributes for language goals, etc.). If children are working on prepositions, have them explain to the group where they found their egg using prepositional terms.
- Have the children hide their eggs for you to find (kids LOVE trying to stump the teacher). Instead of just finding them, have the children give you directions or clues about the whereabouts of their eggs using their speech/language targets.
- Use the eggs to practice following simple and complex directions, i.e. “Put the soft green egg next to a bumpy egg.” Then have the children give you directions to follow, too.
- Use the eggs as storytelling prompts: What type of (pretend) animal might have laid each egg? Where does the animal live? What does it eat? Where is it now?
- To create a touch-and-feel game, take photos of each egg and print them out to make a set of cards. Place the eggs in a bag and have the students flip through the cards and try to find each egg just by touch based on the photo they choose. To add a language element, have the child describe the egg pictured on the card before finding it using targeted skills- What does the egg look like? What do you think it will feel like?
These are just a few ways I thought of to use these simple eggs for speech and language building and sensory exploration- they could also be used for fine motor games and even early math concepts such as sorting and patterning, especially if you made a matching set. How would you use these eggs for playful learning?
More Good Stuff for You:
Looking for more Easter-themed activities? Try our Bunny Tails Magnetic Color Matching game!
Read our article on Building Language with Sensory Play for details on the sensory-language connection.
If you want more information and activities for developing language skills, our Language Basics series is full of great stuff just for you!