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.
- Nouns: Water, soap, different vegetables, salt, pepper, sand, spoon, bowl, cup
- Verbs: Wash, eat, cut, peel, stir, add, shake, turn, boil etc.
- Concepts and adjectives: More, little, small, large, delicious, hot, cold, empty, full, one, two, three, colors, on, in etc.
- 1-step and multi-step directions: e.g. Give me a plate or Give me a yellow plate or Pour water and give me sand etc.
- 2 word phrases: e.g. More water; Eat soup; Yummy meatball; Wash plate
- 3 word phrases: e.g. More water please; Eat more soup; Wash my plate
- 3 word utterance: e.g. I want more; This is a potato; I like it
- 4 word utterance: e.g. I want more soup; This is a big potato; I like this soup
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.
- Nouns: Water, soap, car, boat, plane, sand, towel, sponge, parts of the cars: roof, door, lights, wheels etc.
- Verbs: Wash, splash, cover, add, shake, dry, rub, water, hose, finish, pay etc.
- Concepts and adjectives: More, small, large, under, on, colors, dirty, clean, wet, dry
- 1-step and multi-step directions: e.g. Wash the wheel or Dry the red car and give me the boat. Etc.
- 2 word phrases: e.g. Dirty car; Blue boat; Wash car
- 3 word phrases: e.g. More water please; Want blue boat; Take dirty car
- 3 word utterance: e.g. I washed the car; I want more
- 4 word utterance: e.g. This car is dirty; I washed the blue boat
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.
- Nouns: Water, boat, slide, different animals, dolls, towel etc.
- Verbs: Splash, paddle, jump, dive, slide, swim, ride a boat, dry etc.
- Concepts and adjectives: Fun, under, down, up, wet, dry, again, more, fast, slow etc.
- 1-step and multi-step directions e.g. Slide the elephant or Make the doll jump and dry the elephant
- 2 word phrases: e.g. Doll swim; Elephant jump; Wet doll
- 3 word phrases: e.g. Doll swim fast; Slide in water
- 3 word utterance: e.g. The doll swims; The elephant jumps
- 4 word utterance: e.g. The doll swims slowly; I will dry the elephant
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.
- Nouns: Water, sand, rocks, pebbles, tree, different animals, truck etc.
- Verbs: Feed, wash, eat, drink, splash, give bath, ride, hide, seek, look for etc.
- Concepts and adjectives: A lot, under, behind, next to, on, small, big, large, wet, sick, healthy etc.
- 1-step and multi-step directions e.g. Put the elephant in the truck or Give a leave to the giraffe and put the lion in the sand etc.
- 2 word phrases: e.g. Lion sick; Elephant wet
- 3 word phrases: e.g. Elephant eat leaf; Ride in truck
- 3 word utterance: e.g. The elephant wants leaves; The lion is healthy
- 4 word utterance: e.g. The lion wants to ride a truck; The elephant is hiding behind the rock
Beata Klarowska, M.S. CCC-SLP
Virtual Speech Center Inc.