In the summer, it can be challenging to target speech and language goals! We want our children to enjoy their summers, but we can also make working on speech goals fun with activities we are already doing!
Going on walks
- Language: Label objects in your environment to increase exposure to vocabulary and expand upon it. For example, if you see a dog on your walk, you can point the dog out, and say “It’s a dog! A brown dog! The dog is walking on a leash!”
- Speech sounds: Challenge your child to find objects that start with the speech sound they are working on during therapy. For example, if they are working on /k/, say, “Look at the car! Car starts with our /k/ sound! You try!”
- Social skills: Prompt your child to wave or say hi to people on your walks.
Going to the pool or beach
- Language: Model language as you go in and out of the water. Counting “1-2-3 jump!” to model routine language and games
- Follow Directions: Follow directions while building a sand castle, or playing games in the water! You can work in multi-step directions during play. “First float on your back, then kick 4 times”, “First dive for the blue ring, then dive for the red ring!”
- Speech sounds: Challenge your child to say 3 different targeted speech words before jumping in!
- Social skills: Take turns jumping in the pool. Model my turn/your turn language and praise efforts of waiting their turn!
Reading books & going to the library
- Language: To help expand your child’s language, choose books that are predictable, repetitive, or have a rhyme to help with engagement! Brown Bear, Brown Bear What do you see?, Goodnight Moon, or I went walking all have great repetition for expanding your child’s language.
- Speech Sounds: Choose books with repetition of your child’s speech sound targets!
- Social Skills: Check out your local library to see if they have summer programs for kids. Have your child take the lead and practice asking questions to find the book they want! “Excuse me, where can I find the Diary of Wimpy Kid books? Thanks!”
- Language: Draw different objects on the pavement and help your child to label and describe them. Create stories as you draw picture scenes with chalk to help develop narratives.
- Speech sounds: Draw pictures of targeted words and have your child try to guess what they are. Have your child try to come up with words that start with their targeted sounds and draw them for you to guess!
- Social skills: Play chalk pictionary! You and your child practice turn taking and utilizing perspective taking to guess what the other person is trying to draw!
- Language: There is so much great vocabulary to target while playing in the sandbox! Model what you are doing as you build sandcastles.
- Speech sounds: There are so many natural opportunities to practice sounds in the sand! Practice /s/ with sand, and /k/ and /g/ with trucks and digging. For more sound practice, bring laminated speech cards out to the sand and bury them! Can you practice your sound once you find it?
- Social skills: Target having your child accept your play ideas in the sandbox. Praise when they accept having you make changes to their ideas!
Happy Summer! For more ideas, ask your treating therapist!
Written By: Anna Knutson, MA, CCC-SLP & Catherine Oehler, MS, CCC-SLP