Summer is probably the most favorite season for kiddos as it is time filled with sun, fun and water. Who doesn’t like summer—splashing in water or drinking iced lemonade? Summer offers many great outdoor opportunities for language stimulation and expansion, especially for children who really need to continue with their speech and language therapy.
Below are a few ideas that will help children expand their vocabulary and increase receptive language and their mean length of utterance (MLU).
Items needed: A large bowl or other plastic container filled with water, soap, sand, different sizes of rocks, leaves, petals, plastic toy plates, spoons etc.
Description: Just as the name implies, children will cook with the objects above. My two-year-old son loves to cook his soup and meatballs during this activity. Leaves and petals serve as vegetables (he likes leaves to be carrots). We turn rocks into potatoes and sand into salt and pepper. We make meatballs with sand and water. We use sticks to stir our soup, and we “serve” it in plastic cups. We use soap and water for cleaning dishes. The possibilities are endless with this type of activity and great for pretend play and language.
Items needed: Toy cars or other vehicles such as boats, trains or planes (different sizes and colors), water, dirt or sand, soap, sponge, towel, leaves
Description: During this activity, children will wash dirty cars with water and soap and dry them with towels. Children will begin by making the vehicles dirty with mud or sand. Leaves can be used as money for paying to have their cars washed. I use bubble bath soap with my two year old as it has an even greater effect, and you can cover cars completely with bubbles and work on more words, such as: gone, under, where is it? etc.
OUTDOOR POOL PARTY
Items needed: Large plastic container filled with water; plastic dolls or animals, toy slide or plastic lid or tube that could serve as a slide; wash cloths or paper towel; boats or other floating objects
Description: During this activity, children will throw a pool party for their favorite plastic toys such as dolls, characters or animals. Children will push the toys down the slide, make them swim, make them jump in the water and make them splash. They will hide them under the slide, have them ride a boat and dry them with towels. This activity has endless possibilities. My two-year-old son, for example, likes to give his plastic giraffes some kind of snack while they’re in the pool as well. Usually, he offers them some mud and the pool party turns into a mud party.
MY OWN SAFARI
Items needed: Large plastic container filled with sand or sandbox; plastic animals such as giraffes, elephants (different sizes) etc.; rocks; plastic plants/trees or sticks/leaves/flowers; truck or other vehicle; water
Description: During this activity, children are the owners of the safari and will take care of their animals. They will feed the animals, give them a bath, ride them in the truck and make sure they are healthy by doing health checkups. They will hide them in sand and behind rocks and trees.
One can set up the sandbox or a large container with sand for this activity. The safari can be further built by decorating the sandbox with rocks, pebbles, plastic plants, trees or whatever one finds in the backyard. My son’s absolute favorite part of this activity is checking whether the animals are healthy. We have them “stick out their tongues” and we check if their throats are healthy and if they have any injuries. Of course, our animals always have some health problems (according to my two year old). Usually they have a cough or a booboo. Typically we treat them with some water and fresh leaves. Again this activity has endless possibilities.
Beata Klarowska, M.S. CCC-SLP
Virtual Speech Center Inc.
Back to school apps sale 2019 is here! We hope that you had a great summer and got to rest a little! To keep up with our yearly tradition of “Back to School Apps Sale”, we put a few apps for speech, language and cognition on sale this year as well.
May is the Better Hearing and Speech Month and to celebrate we offer sale on speech therapy apps.
Private SLP Podcast offers resources and tips for private speech and language pathologists.