Summer Speech and Language Activities that you can take OUTSIDE!
The beautiful weather is finally upon us. It is about time we go outside and take advantage! A lot of people think that speech and language therapy consists of flashcards and worksheets. However, there are some fabulous summer activities that will keep your children smiling, having fun and staying active, while supporting his/her speech and language development! These activities are simple, creative, adaptable and do not require many materials.
Below is a list of activities that you will find helpful on those beautiful summer days when you want to be outside!
This is a great activity that will get you and your child outside having some fun in the sun! Together, hunt for items such as flowers, rocks, four leaf clovers, tree branches/twigs, leaves, plants, sand or whatever else you can find. While you and your child are walking, ask and answer each other WH questions (e.g., Ask your child about where they are looking for items, what the items look like, or what color/size they are, etc.) You can work on increasing your child’s vocabulary by discussing the items that you find. Discuss different categories such as things found in the soil, things that are the same color, things that grow, etc. You can also practice following directions (e.g. “Find the pinecone first, then the twig.” OR “Put the flower under the log.”)
Take your child out into a driveway, park, or for a walk and find as many different rocks as possible (Kids LOVE collecting rocks). These rocks can be useful when talking about adjectives. You and your child can talk about the different weights (heavy/light), sizes (small/medium/large), and textures (smooth, bumpy, rough) you see in the rocks. You can compare and contrast the rocks you find. You and your child can also put the rocks into different categories based on their similarities and differences. Additionally, these rocks can be useful to practice prepositions. Practice taking turns placing your rock under, over, beside, on top of, or below other rocks. You can get creative and use the rocks you find for letter and sound recognition. Your child can practice printing letters on the rocks with different colored chalk or markers. When he/she masters this, he/she can make words with the rock letters they have created.
Children love to get down and dirty in the soil, plant seeds and watch them grow; therefore this activity is a great motivator for children and also an excellent way to support their speech and language development! You and your child can take a trip to the Dollarama to purchase his/her favorite seeds or you can simply use seeds that are found around the house (sunflower or apple seeds work great!) While planting the seeds you and your child can practice WH questions by asking and answering questions about what you need, where you plant the seed, when you should water or how to plant a flower. You can also practice sequencing skills. Talk about the steps you need to take to plant the flower, before you start. Then talk about them using words such as; first, second, third, and last while you are planting the flower. Make predictions about what type of flower it is, the colour, how big it might be or even how long you think it will take for it to grow. You can also target articulation goals while planting. You can work on blends (e.g. fl-flower, gr-grow, pl-plant)
Flying a kite is an excellent way to motivate your child, while supporting s his/her speech and language goals! There are many things you can talk about with your child. You can discuss categories such as other items that fly in the air, or items that start with /k/. Alternatively, you could discuss various things you find in the sky, the water or land. You can practice using prepositional words such as, beside, below, under, or over while flying the kite. Work on WH questions by talking about, where it flies, when you should fly it and how it works with your child. You and your child can even target articulation goals while flying your kite. Practice initial k (kite), final t (kite), or blends fl (fly) with your child.
Fun with Chalk!
Use chalk to write just about anywhere with your child! Find fun and exciting places to support your child’s speech and language development. Have your child practice printing letters of the alphabet, printing his/her name, family members names, numbers or even his/her favorite spring/summer words. Allow him/her to draw pictures of their favorite animals, objects or even people and write the first sound of the word, the last sound or a rhyming word. Write a letter and have your child find an item that starts with that sound (e.g. R-Rock).
Play Simon Says
Who doesn’t love Simon Says? It is a great activity to motivate your child while practicing his or her speech and language skills. During this activity your child can practice his/her listening skills, following directions and even build his/her vocabulary knowledge of body parts. To change up the game, allow the child to be Simon. This allows the child to practice his or her expressive vocabulary as well! You can also change the activity so that children can follow directions with other objects (e.g. Simon says pick up the pen and paper and draw with it).
Kids love bubbles! They love blowing bubbles, catching bubbles so why not make bubbles too? Making bubbles is a perfect hands-on way to motivate your child while encouraging his/her speech and language development! This is a great way to practice articulation goals or even establishing those early sounds and words (e.g. /b/-bubbles, /bl/-blow, /p/-pop, /s/-soap, up-up-up, big/small, open/close, shake). Ask your child where he/she wants the bubble to land (e.g. your nose or foot). If your child is at the one word stage, encourage longer sentences by requesting for bubbles (e.g. “I want bubbles”, “Big bubbles”, “Blow bubbles up!”) You and your child can also practice sequencing the steps involved in making the bubbles using words such as first, second, third and last.
You and your child can plan for your picnic, pack for your picnic and then enjoy the picnic all while encouraging speech and language development. You can practice categories such as foods to bring, clothes to wear, or objects you find where you have your picnic. You can also make predictions about what will happen on the picnic. You can talk about animals you may see, what the weather might be like, or people you may come across. Target verbs while preparing some of the food items (e.g. “cut the pear”, “stir the apple sauce”, “mix the lemonade)”. Discuss the different textures and flavours of the food you eat (e.g. crunchy, smooth, sour, sweet).
This is a game that can be played just about anywhere and it is a lot of fun for both you and your child! You and your child can pick your favorite places to go (the park, your backyard, your driveway, a schoolyard). Take turns trying to spy some of the objects around you! This is a great way for your child to practice his expressive language by providing you with descriptions of the object (e.g. “It is round and you put water in it!”). Also, he/she learns about categorization (e.g. You may ask, “Is it a vehicle?”).
These are just a few of many different activities that can keep your child engaged, active and outside while supporting his/her speech and language development throughout the summer! Always feel free to be creative and adjust these activities to target just about any speech or language goal!