With summertime quickly approaching my students can barely contain their excitement for all of the upcoming camps, sports and vacations during their time off. This is also the time of year in which parents become concerned about reinforcing all of our hard work and progress we have made at speech during the school year!
I wanted to share some of my favorite fun and easy activities to encourage speech and language development during your studnets time away from the school.
1. Saint Louis has great local libraries and often times have free programs over the summer for a variety of ages. Once you have checked out your books remember to ask your child questions as the story progresses. Questions like, "who is the main character?" "What do you like about this story?" "What do you think will happen?" "What was your favorite part?"
2. Keep a journal. Have your child write an entry a day describing where they went, who they saw, what they did, and any other fun facts about the day. Even a typical day at home or running errands with mom can have fun things to write and reflect on! This would also be a neat keepsake from year-to-year!
3. Play a Game! Games are so much fun and facilitate so many wonderful social language skills such as turn taking, being a good sport, and topic maintaince. My favorite games are: Headbandz, Uno, Go Fish, and of course Candy Land! *Helpful Tip* For some kids holding all of the cards during a card game can be difficult...I have found that using an empty egg carton turned upside down with cards slipped in the front slot is a cheap and effective way to help my kiddos see all their cards.
4. Create a Speech Zone. This is for students that have been attending speech at school and have made lots of progress during the school year and we don't want them to experience a summer slide! Have your child pick a spot in the house that will be his/her speech zone! When they enter this "zone" they must use their speech sounds when speaking. Check out my refernce pages for materials to stock in their "zone"... or email me for suggestions! Make sure to have fun with it!
5. Create a Calender. Families become busy over the summer with lots of special outings and events. Giving your child some routine and structure helps to make this unstructured time at home more managable. Provide your child with a calender each month and review with them what special events/holidays are coming up. Younger children would benefit from a weekly calender or even daily.
6. Science Experiments. I have been working on a weather unit with my kindergarten students at school and they LOVE the small experiments we have been conducting. Thunderstorm in a cup was a big hit...fill a clear plastic up with water, put a dollop of shaving cream on the top, and then squeeze blue food coloring onto the shaving cream, and watch the magic and the kids faces. Before the experiment tallk about what might happen, and after talk about what did happen! Dont forget The Saint Louis Science Center has great learning activites over the summer for children as well.
7. Cook. Choose a recipe, go to the store, and cook up a yummy treat! Kids love to cook and cooking is enriched with language, math, reading, and social skills. You can make anything as simple as peanut butter and jelly to something as complicated as quiche! As you work through the recipe discuss the steps in the process and what might come next in the process.
8. Go "Camping". Or just hang out in a tent in your backyard under the stars with some smores and a blanket! While "camping" talk about why we camp in the summer and not the winter and compare the two seasons. Compare other summer vs. winter items such as clothing, food, and activities.
9. Scavenger Hunt. Create a scavenger hunt for a variety of things in your home or outside. Once you find the object talk about it's various attributes such as function, describe how it looks, category/group (fruit, vegetable, clothing), parts it has, where you find it, and any other facts you know about it.
10. Visit The Speech Spot! If you think your child may be struggling with communication or your student has recieved services over the school year and you don't want them to experience any regression of skills contact The Speech Spot for a refresher! 618-791-8271 or SpeechSpotSTL@Gmail.com