If your child has difficulty correctly saying the /sh/ sound, then try some of these speech therapy strategies. Remind your child that /sh/ is the sleeping baby sound. Most kids who have difficulty making this sound confuse it with the /s, /t/ or /d/ sounds. So, a child might say “soos,” “toos,” or “doos” instead of saying “shoes.” Tell your child to round his lips and make the quiet sound “shhhh.” To draw attention to this sound, be sure to hold the /sh/ sound for an extended period of time when you model words for your child. For example, say “I see a shhhhheep” or “Put on your shhhhhhoes.” This strategy will help your child to first hear and then learn how to correctly produce this speech sound.
Activities for /sh/
- Gather several favorite stuffed animals and have your child put them down for a nap using pillows and blankets. Have your child practice saying “shhhh” to remind people to be quiet while the babies are asleep.
- Make a /sh/ sound box. Collect items throughout the house that begin with the /sh/ sound and put them in a box (I bought a real mailbox from Home Depot to put the items in – and kids love this activity!). Suggested toys or pictures for your /sh/ sound box include: shoe, ship, shell, sugar, shampoo, sheriff, sheep, shamrock, shark, shirt, shorts, shapes, shepherd, shovel, Shrek. Search throughout your house collecting small toys, dollhouse items, play food, puzzle pieces, empty food boxes, magazine pictures, etc. Be creative! Any object that begins with the /sh/ sound can go into the sound box.
- Recite the nursery rhyme There Was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe. Cut a very large shoe (shaped more like a boot) from butcher paper. Cut pictures of children from magazines. Recite the nursery rhyme several times being sure to have your child fill in the target word “shoe.” Have your child paint the shoe brown. When the paint is dry, have your child glue the pictures of the children on and around the shoe.
- Gather a basket full of shoes from different family members and invite your child to match them by pairs. Encourage your child to use phrases such as “daddy’s shoe, my shoe, blue shoe” etc. when sorting the shoes.
- Read books about shoes. Some suggested titles include: I Like Shoes by Candice Ransom and Shoes, Shoes, Shoes by Anne Schreiber.
- Make a chef’s hat out of white paper and allow your child to play chef for a day. Have him wear an apron and a nametag that says “Chef ________” (fill in child’s name).. Remember, even though the word chef starts with the letters “ch” it actually makes the “sh” sound.
- Gather different sea shells and invite your child to explore their textures, colors and sizes. Put the shells in a tub of sand along with some shovels. Now your child can dig for shells just like at the beach. Read books about shells. A couple of my favorites: Shells (Rookie Readers: Level B) by Betsy Franco and Seashells by the Seashore by Marianne Berkes.
- Watch the movie Shark Tale with your child. After the movie you can look at books about sharks. Here are a few shark books: Smiley Shark by Ruth Galloway, The Shark Who Was Afraid of Everything! by Brian James and Shark in the Park by Phil Roxbee Cox. Offer shark-shaped fruit snacks for a special treat.
- Weather permitting, go outside and trace your child’s shadows with sidewalk chalk.
- Invite your child to be the family sheriff for a day. Make a sheriff’s badge by cutting a star out of of cardboard and covering it with tin foil. Write the word “sheriff” on the star with a permanent marker and attach it to your child’s shirt.
- Read the book Old Black Fly by Jim Aylesworth having your child repeat the verse “Shoo Fly Shoo Fly Shooo.”
- Eat crackers of different shapes for snack (Ritz crackers are circles, Saltines are squares, Triscuits are triangles, & Graham Crackers are rectangles. Talk to your child about the different shapes.
- Make a shape train with your child. Cut out 2 circles, 2 triangles, 1 square, and 1 rectangle from construction paper. Have your child arrange the shapes to make a train using the rectangle for the body of the train, the circles for the wheels, the square and one triangle for the front of the train and the other triangle for the roof on top of the rectangle.
- Recite the nursery rhymes Baa, Baa, Black Sheep and Little Bo Peep. Encourage your child to fill in the target word “sheep” whenever it occurs in each rhyme.
- Read books about sheep. Some suggested titles include: When Sheep Sleep by Laura Numeroff, Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy Shaw, and Some Sheep Can’t Sleep by Phil Roxbee Cox.
- Enjoy strawberry shortcake for dessert.
- Provide your child with a variety of different shoestrings. Help her line up the shoestrings from longest to shortest.
- Watch the movie Shrek with your child.