No matter what approach you take with /r/, you’ve undoubtedly found that sticking with a particular phonetic context instead of simply choosing a position (initial, medial, final) will help move you forward. With some children, I’ve found that using “airy” or “eary” words will help bridge the sound into the final position. Since your lip position for the long “a” and long “e” sound is a “smile”, embedding the /r/ between the two makes it a little bit easier to keep that retracted lip position.
This quick activity is fun year round, but particularly appropriate as we move toward Halloween—scary boxes! I have a bunch of plastic boxes that I bought at the dollar store. Mine are somewhat clear, so real little ones aren’t completely put off by the thought of something too scary. I fill half with cute toys—maybe a glittering ring or a plastic cat—and the other half with “scary” items—rubber snakes, plastic bugs, toy rats, etc. This time of year is a great one for picking up inexpensive creepy crawlies!
We scatter the boxes on the table and announce as we open them, “scary” or “not scary”. The kids love watching how “scared” I get from the icky items as well as showing off how brave they are.
This is also easily adapted as an early language activity. The boxes lend themselves to the words: “open”, “shut/close”, and “more” very easily. You can simplify the idea of “scary” to “boo!” and you can fill the boxes with appropriate vocabulary.
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