Hot weather can make it difficult to find things to do to keep children both busy and cool during the summer months. Here are 5 activities that can be used to both entertain and cool off your little ones as well as help them practice speech and language skills. These activities are so much fun that your little one won’t even realize they are working on developing important skills while doing them!
1. Home made ice pops: Cooking activities are always a great way to work on speech and language skills. They require children to follow directions in sequential order, and are a wonderful way to work on concepts such as wet/dry, empty/full, some/all/none, and hot/cold. You can work on the verbs pour, mix, peel, and cut as well as vocabulary pertaining to the ingredients and tools being used (spoon, freezer, fruit/vegetables, shapes and sizes of the ingredients, the possibilities are endless). These treats can also be used to sneak some extra nutrition into children who are picky eaters. Fruit, yogurt, honey, peanut butter and even vegetables can be blended into the ice pop mix! Check out these 10 Delicious Homemade Ice Pop recipes: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/10-delicious-homemade-ice-pop-recipes.html
- Wash the baby activity- It’s bath time for your child’s favorite doll! Work on concepts such as wet/dry, and clean/dirty, identifying and labeling body parts, following directions, requesting, pretend play skills and more.
- Play with cups, rocks, animal and food toys and so on- The items you choose to are up to you and are limitless. You can choose items in a particular theme to work on vocabulary concepts (i.e. animal toys), or items that will help your child work on concepts such as sink/float, empty/full, heavy/light, size concepts and so on! Have your child follow directions with the items (i.e. put the elephant in the red cup, pour some water in the blue cup). Have your child answer questions about the items (i.e. “What else can you use a cup for?”, “Where does an elephant live?”, “Does an apple fly?”). Turn this into a turn taking activity by providing a fishing pole or net to “catch” the toys with. Talk about each item!
3. Car wash activity- Have the child wash toy cars (or maybe even the real car) and practice concepts such as wet/dry, clean/dirty and follow directions (i.e. wash the red car first, then the blue car). You can also work on concepts such as top/bottom, front/back, sides and under. Turn this activity into a turn taking activity with a peer by only providing 1 sponge. Talk about vocabulary words related to the activity: sponge, doors, handle, tire, trunk, soap, hose, etc.
4. Seashell fun- These activities can be done outdoors on a day that is not too hot, or indoors in the AC! Go on a seashell hunt to practice speech and language skills. Place pictures targeting new vocabulary words or speech sounds on the inside or on each shell. Hide the shells around the backyard or around the house. Have your child label, answer questions about, or practice the sounds in each pictured word. You can also use this activity to improve your child’s ability to listen to directions, or to give directions to others. To do this, hide one shell at a time and give clue about it’s location (i.e. “it is in a room where we cook” or “it is between the truck and the dollhouse”). Then have the child hide it and give you clues.
When you are finished with the seashell hunt activity, you can use the shells for another language based activity! You can use them for art an art project. The project can target goals such as following directions, or color concepts and size concepts (i.e. “paint the big shell blue and the small shell yellow”). You can also glue shells together to make animals and other designs. Have your child talk about and answer questions about their design. Take a look at this seashell fish activity from Crafts By Amanda!
5. Water balloon toss- A water balloon toss is an excellent way to work on joint attention skills, turn taking, gaining attention and making eye contact. This activity can be done by 2 or more people. Have each person gain the attention of another person in the circle before tossing the balloon by calling their name and making eye contact with them before throwing the balloon. If the child forgets to tell someone they are going to throw the balloon they might not catch it, and if they don’t make eye contact with others when their name is called they might get wet. You can add additional speech and language practice to this activity by putting things on the balloons:
- Letters- Have the child think of a word that starts with whatever letter is on the balloon. You can make it more challenging by having the child think of a word that ends with the letter, or has the letter in the middle of the word.
- Words- You can practice sight words, rhyming, or targeted speech sounds during the water balloon toss by simply writing words on the balloons. For sight words have the child read the word aloud before throwing the balloon (as seen here). For rhyming have the child come up with a word that rhymes with the word on the balloon before each toss. For articulation practice have the child say the words 5x before throwing the balloon.
- Pictures- You can practice new vocabulary words by putting pictures on the balloons. You can either draw them on the balloons, or tape them on.
What other hot weather speech and language activities can you think of? Share them in the comments!
© 2013, Tina M. Rocco, M.A. CCC-SLP, HPCS. All rights reserved.