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Smithsonian's Sackler Gallery's

Love in Every Language

February 13 & 14, 12-4pm

Fill your Valentine's Day weekend with culture and art and spend quality time enhancing speech and language skills with your child at the Arthur M. Sackler gallery's love-themed event:

Open Studio: Love in Every Language!


EXPLORE: Expressive Language
ENRICH: Descriptive vocabulary

ENGAGE: The ability to use adjectives to describe an object


One of the elements of the Love in Every Language event is a digital slideshow that shows images of love in Asian art. As you watch this slideshow with your child, work on his/her descriptive language ability using the following strategies:



  • Talk about the common colors in the artwork. For younger children, you can talk about the basic colors of the rainbow - "Do you see a lot of blues? Purples?" With older children, see if they can use specific color words to describe what they see, such as maroon, burgundy, or crimson instead of simply "red."

  • Talk about the common shapes and designs in the artwork. Ask your younger child to use a pattern sentence to either talk about one design element at a time, such as "I see ___" (I see circles, I see hearts, etc.) or combine multiple descriptions with a conjuction, such as "The painting has swirly lines and dots."

  • Ask your child what their favorite piece of art was and why. Help them formulate a sentence using the word "because" and describe the elements of the artwork that the liked best. For example, "I liked the painted fan because it had bright colors."



EXPLORE: Oral Comprehension
ENRICH: Careful Listening

ENGAGE: The ability to follow oral directions to complete a task


Create Valentine's Day cards with your child using woodblock prints of the words for "love" in a variety of Asian languages. Rather than each designing your own cards, give your child directions to create a card while working on improving receptive language.



  • Based on your child's comprehension abilities, you can choose to focus on one-, two-, or three-step directions. For example, if you want your child to find the Japanese woodblock, dip it in red paint, and stamp it at the top of his/her paper, you can give each of those directions one-by-one, or combine them all into one sentence.

  • Your child may benefit from visual cues to help his/her comprehension and memory of the directions. For this activity, you can point while talking to give the added visual input. With the sample direction above, you would point first tot he woodblock, then to the red paint, and finally to the top section of the paper. If you gave your child a multi-step direction and he/she forgets one of the steps, you can point again (this time without words) as a reminder of the next step in the direction.



EXPLORE: Articulation Skills
ENRICH: Correct Production of Speech Sounds

ENGAGE: The ability to produce the /l/ sound


While exploring the activities at the open studio, talk about the representations of love in the artwork and on the /l/ sound with your child.



  • Before starting your /l/ practice, remind your child how to produce a good /l/ sound: Raise the tip of your tongue to touch the roof of your mouth, right behind your two front teeth. Keep the sides of your tongue relaxed and your mouth slightly open. Make the /l/ sound, letting the air flow over the sides of your tongue.

  • Practice the initial /l/ sound while talking about the words for Love in different Asian languages in sentences like "'I Love you' in Japanese is 'suki desu,'" or "This painting says 'I Love you' in Chinese."

  • Practice the medial /l/ sound while using the word vaLentine in sentences such as "Happy VaLentine's Day!" or "Do you Like my VaLentine's Day card?"

  • Practice the final /l/ sound while using the word maiL: "I am going to maiL my card," or "I hope I get VaLentine's Day maiL."


BONUS: Practice the /l/ sound in consonant blends by making sentences using the words SackLer, woodbLock, and sLideshow.

EXPLORE: Social Language Skills
ENRICH: Requesting Assistance

ENGAGE: The ability to ask for help


Another activity at the Love in Every Language event is making heart-shaped oragami. You can use this craft to work on your child's ability to ask for help while completing a novel task.



  • The ability to ask for help with a new or difficult task is an important skill for school success. Becuase folding oragami can be challenging, this activity is the perfect opportunity to orally rehearse polite ways of asking for assistance.

  • Brainstorm with your child simple sentences that he/she can use when having trouble with the oragami folding, such as, "Excuse me, can you help me?" "Can you please repeat the direction?" or "Can you show me how to do that step?"

  • Remind your child to speak up and ask for help as soon as he/she needs it, which encourages your child to advocate for him/herself.


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