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Unstructured Play: Picnic Theme!

A great way to promote speech and language development is by HAVING A PICNIC! Unstructured play, in addition to quality time spent with your child, provides the FUN your child needs in order to stay engaged, while giving you the opportunity to:


MODEL the correct speech sound productions your child may say in error OR verbal/nonverbal requesting.


  • CHILD: Grabs the cookie and says “Tootie!”
  • YOU: You found the CooKie!! Good job!!
  • CHILD: reaches for the apple.
  • YOU: Do you WANT the apple?
  • YOU: MODEL simple sign for “I want” OR MODEL saying the word “want”
  • YOU: can use hand over hand to help your child sign for “want”
  • YOU: reward your child with desired object (the apple) for either imitating your modeling OR tolerating hand over hand strategies.

EXPAND/EXTEND your child’s 1-word utterances into longer phrases and/or simple sentences


  • CHILD: grabs the apple from the basket and says “Apple!”
  • YOU: “yes, that is a red apple!” Apples are yummy to eat!”

CATAGORIZE fruits/vegetables, primary colors, shapes


  • Let’s find ALL of the FRUIT
  • Let’s find ALL of the VEGGIES
  • Put ALL of the RED foods in the basket
  • Put ALL of the GREEN foods in the bowl
  • Find ALL of the foods shaped like a CIRCLE

INTRODUCE CONCEPTS including correct pronoun usage ie; (yours and mine) and


  • (YOU) get a plate and (I) get a plate
  • That’s (YOUR) burger and this is (MY) sandwich.
  • Put ALL of the red foods IN the basket
  • Put ALL of the Green foods UNDER the table