Well...it's officially summer. Here in California the heat has finally arrived and we are finding ourselves either outside for long periods of time (on the nice days) or stuck inside because it is just too hot outside. As parents, we are often constantly trying to think up some fun, educational activities for our little ones and today I am going to share with you FIVE great summer activities YOU can do with your little ones...and even work on their speech and language skills along the way!
Five FUN Summer Activities to do With Your Preschooler
1. Go on a nature hike. When was the last time you went on a nurture hike with your kids? Nature hikes are awesome to work on your child's speech and language skills. From articulation to following directions to vocabulary nature hikes provide a plethora of stimuli that can be used to help build your child's skills. If possible, take a camera with you and take pictures along the way that you can refer back to later. Talk about everything that you see: flowers, plants, animals. Think about the W's..who, what, where, why, when and how. Collect things along the way and make a scrapbook of what you find: rocks, leaves, flowers.
2. Make an obstacle course...summer style I LOVE obstacle courses! Why? Because they are F U N for kids and they offer so many opportunities to target and teach so many skills like gross motor, motor planning, visual processing, and following directions (just to name a few!) I wrote a post a few months ago on my blog about indoor obstacle courses but now that is summer, it is time for an outdoor course. And since it is summer and, you know, hot, I think incorporating water would be an excellent idea! Here are some items that you can use to set up a fun course in YOUR backyard!
- Tents and tunnels
- Kiddie Pools
- Bubble machines
- Hoola hoops
- Basketball hoops
- T-Ball equipment
- Swings and other outdoor play equipment
- Tricycles and wagons
3. Have a Lemonade Stand! Who doesn't love a lemonade stand? If you have a little one who needs some practice with expressive language or perhaps social/pragmatic skills, have them set up a lemonade stand! This will allow them opportunities to interact and communicate with peers and adults while also giving them opportunities to learn about money (counting, making change...also taking profits and using the money to buy something at the store).
4. Go on a scavenger hunt! This is a FANTASTIC way to work on your child's understanding of basic concepts, vocabulary, adjectives, counting, phonemic awareness, etc. You can do it indoors or outdoors depending on the temperature outside. A great way to do these is to actually take pictures of the items they find, and then you can look back at the pictures after and talk about all the items. Ideas can include:
- Find something that is red
- Find something that is bigger than an apple
- Find something that is smaller than a pea
- Find something that makes noise
- Find something that feels rough
- Find something that feels soft
- Find something that is bigger than your hand
- Find something that is longer than your foot
- Find something that is green
- Find something that is round
- Find something that fits in the palm of your hand
- Find something that is shiny
- Find something that starts with the /r/ sound.
- How many rolls of toilet paper are under the sink?
- How many bikes are in the garage?
- How many cars can you see on the street?
- Etc, Etc, Etc.
5. Too Hot? Head inside for some summer crafts! Some days it is simply too hot to be outside. I get it. I have been there many times. One of my daughter's most favorite things in the whole world is "art work." Both at her preschool and at home, she loves art. Arts and crafts are excellent activities to target speech and language skills. In fact, I use art a lot in my speech sessions. In fact, I wrote a blog post all about how you can use crafts to stimulate and expand speech and language skills last November! This summer my daughter and I have been pretty busy doing summer crafts like paper lanterns and fireworks, torn paper fishies, and paper octopi. Looking for other ideas? Check out Pinterest or one of my favorite blogs No Time for Flashcards.
Looking for more great summer activities? Check out these resources: Summer Living: 60 Summer Activities for Kids (Martha Stewart) 50 Summer Crafts for Kids (The Long Thread) 14 Cheap Summer Activities for Kids (Frugal Dad) 101 Summer Activities for Kids (Parenting Magazine)
Thanks so much to Pamela and Holly for this opportunity to guest post! :) Enjoy the rest of your summer! ~Katie~
Katie is a licensed, credentialed, and ASHA Certified speech language pathologist as well as a mother, wife, and blogger. She lives in California with her husband and two children E (3.5) and Ev (18 months). Check out her blog, Playing With Words 365, where she provides information for parents, educators, and other professionals on how to expand children’s speech and language skills through play, reading, music, crafts and other daily activities.