EchoBucketCroppedOral motor activities are often associated only with eating and drinking, but the mouth is also used to express oneself through vocalizations and eventually language.  As the lips, tongue, and cheeks develop increased sensory and motor skills, the ability to create varying sounds increases.  As cognitive development occurs, language skills increase.  All children should be given Active Learning environments to encourage vocalizations, to allow for repetition of vocalizations, and to eventually encourage imitation of vocalizations and sounds.   

For learning to occur, a child must be aware of and interested in his or her own voice.  In Active Learning we might place a microphone in the area of a child, so that his or her voice is amplified.  Items besides microphones can amplify a child’s voice.  An Echo Bucket can be hung over a child who is lying on a Resonance Board.  Vocalizations made will echo through the bucket and reflect back to the child.  Tubing, such as vacuum cleaner hoses or tubes from paper towels, can be held up to a child’s ear and mouth, so that sounds are echoed. In this video, a gathering drum and microphone are used to amplify vocalizations. You don’t need expensive items to encourage vocalizations.  In this video, a metal bowl provides inspiration to imitate sounds.  The activity is so engaging that other children decide to join in the fun.

Simply giving a child the opportunity to use his or her voice in a meaningful way promotes increased vocalizations.  As children develop greater vocalizations, look for opportunities to demonstrate language in first simple and then more complex ways.