9 ideas for improving language skills this summer
Summer offers us so many great opportunities to encourage our children to further develop their speech and language skills. Here are a few easy (and fun) ideas to get your summer going:
- Participate in your local library’s summer reading program. For example, here in Rome, the Sara Hightower Regional Library offers a program with groups for toddlers, children and teenagers along with fun workshops each week. According to their website, you can join in at any time during the eight-week period.
- Does your child have a summer reading list for school? Encourage him or her to share their progress with you. Pick a time each day or each week to discuss what the characters are up to, what might happen next in the story, what plot twists have come up, etc. You’ll be developing your child’s verbal narrative skills, inferencing/predicting skills, and recall/memory skills, just to name a few .
If your family is planning a vacation this summer, you can fit speech & language activities into the trip in quite a few ways:
- Have your child help you make a packing list. You could even leave a few important items off the list (for example: “forget” to write swimsuits if you’re headed to the beach) or add in a few things that you definitely wouldn’t need on your trip (going with the beach theme, write down “jackets” and “vacuum cleaner” on your list) and see if your little one catches and corrects your mistakes.
- Remember those fun games we all played on long road trips — “I Spy”, “A is for Armadillo” and “I’m Going on a Picnic … “? Start them up on your road trip! Your child will be working on using descriptive vocabulary, developing their memory skills, and expanding their categorization skills.
- Encourage your child to keep a travel journal chronicling your trip. For kids who can read and write, this is a fun way to practice organizing their thoughts and sharing them with friends and family. Even preschoolers can get in on the fun: have them draw a picture of their day and tell you all about it .
Does your family enjoy playing outdoors?
- Time at the pool or a run through the sprinkler is a great time to devote to talking. Talk about how the water feels and what it looks like. Does your child love to splash in the water? Have them tell you what “kind” of splash will come next: a big splash or a little splash, etc.
- A backyard treasure hunt is always fun. Create a simple treasure map and hide a toy or prize outside. Think of it as an Easter egg hunt in the summer. Your child will work on following directions, listening for descriptive vocabulary and position words, and will have fun finding their “prize” at the end!
- Go on a picnic and have your child help you prepare the snacks. Have your child tell you what you’ll need to make those peanut butter and jelly or turkey sandwiches. Again, you can always leave out important items from your preparation and see how your child solves those problems.
- Playground time can be a fun way to encourage talking too! Does your child want to swing high or swing low? “Ready … set …. GO!” on the slide. Climb up, up, up the ladder.
While you and your child are spending time together having fun over the summer, you’ll have encouraged them to learn and develop their speech, language, and reading & writing skills without them knowing it!
Tuesday, June 19th, 2012 in Tips from Infinity