Oral Motor Ideas

July 7th, 2010

Oral motor exercises are important for increasing muscle tone / muscle strength so speech is possible.  Even for children that already talk – these are great ideas for improving speech clarity.

These exercises are intended to give your child a variety of oral motor experiences in an enjoyable way.

1) BLOWING

  • dandelions that have gone to seed
  • cotton, dry cornmeal or feathers across the table
  • kleenex in the air
  • bubbles from bubble wand, or in the bath, from palm of hand
  • whistles
  • straws: blows in milk to make froth and bubbles
  • on a winter day, blow on a frosty pane

2) CHEWING AND JAW STRENGTH

  • licorice: can pull on it as child clenches (playful pull)
  • jerky: make teeth marks on jerky
  • fruit roll-ups or fruit chews
  • show how to put directly on top of molars
  • taffy

3) LICKING

  • popsicles
  • suckers
  • ice cream cones
  • lick out bowl (never mind etiquette)
  • lick off something sticky from top lip, bottom lip or corners of mouth
  • pretend to be like a kitty, licking paws

4) TONGUE SOUNDS

  • imitate rhythm
  • clicking
  • la la la to music
  • blow "raspberry" with tongue

5) TONGUE MOVEMENT

  • move food from one cheek to other, using tongue; you show child in an exaggerated way how to do this
  • move tongue to touch corners of mouth
  • clear food from cheek with tongue like chipmunk
  • balance Cherrio like cereal (Gorilla munch is GF CF!) or small food on tongue; then bring balanced food in and out of mouth

6) LIPS

  • hold Cherrio like cereal (Gorilla munch is GF CF!) in lips like whistle "puckering lips"
  • tight seal to say "mmmmmm"
  • tight seal around straw
  • tight seal to hold paper between lips; play tug of war
  • humming
  • kazoo or whistle with lips formed around

7) SUCKING

  • straws with thick milkshake or nectar to strengthen suck
  • practice sound as you pretend to feed a doll (tongue on top of mouth w/ pressure)

Compiled by the staff of Columbia Rose Pediatric Feeding Center

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