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Summertime activities to work on speech and language with your kiddos!

1. Blow bubbles- This is a great activity that not only works on bilabial speech sounds /b,p/ in the words pop and bubbles with lots of repetition, but it also targets some oral motor exercises. When blowing a bubble a child is working on lip rounding and breath control. A great way to have a child learn to blow is by using the cue of be a whispering owl---an owl makes the hoo sound but needs to be very quiet and not use his voice! 2. Play outside improves fine and gross motor, social skills, and language skills. Narrate what your child is doing. This is a great chance to use lots of action words, running, dancing, jumping, sliding, swinging. Use this to work on what doing questions, using the ask, model, re-ask technique. i.e. What are you doing? Swinging! You are swinging! What are you doing? Pause and give them a chance to respond. Play in the sand and the dirt and talk about how it feels, what you can build, digging holes, the colors, can you find any worms? Ants? Are they tiny or big? Long or short? Soft or slimy? 3. Read a book It is so important for children to hear the language in books. The more exposure to a wide variety of vocabulary the better. Try and read a book without reading a book too! Look through the pictures of the book---point out different pictures, label the pictures, make the sounds of the animals/vehicles/people. Point out what the characters in the book are doing. Build up those action and description words! Model answers to questions and re-ask the child. Use this opportunity to build vocabulary. If your child points to a dog, respond with A BIG dog! Look at that BIG dog or That dog is jumping! Dog jumping! 4. Go on a scavenger hunt Hide things around your house and give your child 1 or 2 step directions depending on how many steps they are working on. Use this time to work on prepositions (Look under the table, Look behind the door).

5. Eat a popsicle a great sensory experience. Can also work on some of those oral motor skillslip rounding, stimulating the lips/tongue, using the tongue to lickdont forget to lick your lips! Dont forget your concepts! Is it big/small? Round? Long/short? Cold/hot? What color? Do you have to eat it fast or slow? Inside or outside? 6. Play the I-spy gameWith the young ones I like to work on just I see____. I tend to pair this with visual cues, point to the eye for I (especially if a child tends to use me to refer to themselves), and then make a v with your fingers at your eyes and turn them out to point to an object for see and then label something. See if the child can find it and then if they can produce a 3-word phrase, I seeblue! or I see..cat! 7. Play with a friend around the same age It is so important to build those social skills early on! At very young ages, under 3, you can expect to see mostly parallel play. An adult could help guide the play and work on basic sharing and turn taking skills. Also work on one-step and two-step pretend play! Help model different play ideas and increase your childs imagination! 8. Draw with sidewalk chalk talk about the colors you are using and what you are drawing. Maybe you can draw different faces and talk about emotions! Oh, this face is sad. And you can elaborate, depending on their level, why is he sad? Should we make a happy face? How do we make him happy? 9. Have a picnic Work on making a list of the things you need for your picnic. Work on following directions to find those things and put in the basket. Are you going to the park? Maybe make a map of where you should picnic! Should we picnic next to the playground or under the tree? Should you bring hot foods or cold foods? Why or why not? How many things can we fit in our picnic basket? What color foods? Who should come on our picnic? Great for following directions, prepositions, wh-questions, vocabulary, counting, basic concepts! 10. Go to the Zoo or AquariumTalk about what animals you want to see before you go. Look at the zoo map and talk about where they are. What animals do you want to see first? Name the different animals. Talk about their size and their colors. What sounds do they make? What was your favorite animal? Look on the map and circle what animals you saw? Talk about The Zebras were next to the elephants! 11. Baking projectsBaking is great for following directions and vocabulary! Give the child a choice, should we bake cookies or brownies? We need an egg, where are the eggs? How many do we need? Talk about what you are doing when you are doing it, Mommy is pouring the oil. Bobby is stirring the dough. Etc. 12. Take a walk outside Talk about the things you see. I see a bird! A bird says tweet tweet! He lives in the tree.. Always remember to narrate, but be mindful of using only one more word above what your child is using. If he is non-verbal, point to things tree! bird!, Airplane and make sounds for the different objects. Bird! Tweet Tweet! Flying!

If they are at the one word level then use two-three words max to describe things. Blue bird! Bird is flying! Bye Bird! 13. Plant a flower This can work on following directions while being a great sensory activity. Talk about the kind of flower you want to plant. Go to the store and pick out a color. How do we make it grow? What do we need to plant our flower? Great for building that spring/summertime vocabulary and following 1-2 step directions. 14. Story Time At the LibraryDefinitely check these out this summer! They have different story times for different ages and they are filled with stories, singing, music, rhymes, and they are very interactive! Great language building activity and exposure to other children! 15. Music ClassesThere are great music classes at many of the family centers around town. Music is often great for children with speech and language difficulties and children will often pick up vocabulary quicker when put to music. Some of the classes also use sign language as well! Great for children and parents to learn it! -Kindermusik classes at Nourish Family Center (www.nourishfamilycenter.com) and at Castle Rock Music (www.castlerockmusic.com) -Music for Aardvark classes at Sweet Beginnings (www.oursweetbeginnings.com)

Jessica M. Gates, MS CCC-SLP Speech Therapist 2013