Summer’s almost over. Why not get in some last minute fun family outings? I have some suggestions for some fun that you can secretly sneak language into! I did my best to keep them cheap because let’s face it…school supplies and school clothes get expensive. Especially if you are shopping for more than one child.
- The Zoo: This is an easy and obvious choice. You can work on naming animals, talking about what they look like (describing), where they might live, etc. Some of the animals you have to look for in their enclosures, so you can work on understanding spatial concepts like “Look! The tiger is up on the rock.” or “The lion is behind the tree.” If your child is working on sounds (like /s/ or /r/), have them work on saying the animal names with their sounds. You’ll easily spend the entire day at the zoo so why not work on language and speech goals in secret?!
- Ice Cream Shop: While it may not seem like much, allowing your child to order their ice cream (or any food) provides a great language experience. They must use eye contact with the waiter and request what they are wanting. My kids started ordering their own food at around 3 years old. Sometimes, we had to help or translate what they meant but they still did it.
- Aquarium: It’s just like going to the zoo (except with ocean/water animals and it’s inside in the A/C!) Use the same ideas to target language and articulation as in #1.
- Park: The park is a great place to work on language skills especially for little ones! They can be prompted to use demands such as “push me,” or “help me” when swinging or sliding. Talk about the concepts of “up” and “down” when sliding. “Going up the slide” is one example. Little ones are so busy running around they forget they are practicing language skills!
- Orchard: Anything with food is great! I know of several blueberry picking farms as well as a couple of orchards in my area that are great for kids! Again, the kids get outside and busy picking/selecting fruits to take home that they forget about the learning experiences you are getting in. Naming different fruits, learning the concepts of “empty” and :”full” when talking about your baskets, and learning which fruits grow on a tree and which grow on a vine are just a few ideas. BONUS IDEA: Plan a pie or cobbler with your freshly picked fruit and let the kids help! If you aren’t one for being in the heat, wait until the fall for pumpkin season!!
What other outings can you think of that will increase language experiences for your child?
Try these ideas at home too!