Summertime in Chicago is approaching and that can only mean one thing… Time to hit the beach! Whether your child is playing in the sand or splashing in the water, there are so many amazing ways to continue targeting his or her speech and language goals while soaking up some sun. Let’s “dive” into a few different beach-based activities and how you can implement speech and language for kids of all ages with ease!
0-3 Years Old:
Here are some ideas of how to target speech and language with younger kiddos!
- Increase vocabulary: Use your trip to the beach as an opportunity to learn some new vocabulary! Spend a few minutes labeling the objects that you see, such as sand, towels, sunglasses, sandals, sunscreen, and more!
- Verb use: Similar to the activity above, introduce new verbs to your child that are unique to the beach like swimming or splashing when playing in the water, or scooping, digging, and pouring when making a sand castle!
- Follow directions: There are so many ways to work on directions during your beach day. During sand castle making, have your child follow commands like “get the bucket!” or “put sand in!” Before swimming, give commands such as “put on your floaties!” or “put sunscreen on your nose!”
- Turn-taking: Engage in turn-taking games during your beach day, such as passing a beach ball back and forth, scooping sand into a bucket, or blowing bubbles. Make sure to model turn taking phrases, such as “my turn!” and “your turn!”
4-7 Years Old:
Here are some goals appropriate for your preschool and early school-aged kids!
- WH-question answering: Target a variety of question types during your beach day! For example, ask your child questions like “where is the bird?”, “who is swimming?” or “what do you do with a shovel?”
- Descriptive language: Use your beach day as an opportunity to practice descriptive language use. For example, ask your child to describe sand or water by their respective colors, sizes, temperatures, or textures. You can even play “I Spy” to take turns describing objects to each other!
- Spatial concepts: There are so many ways to work on spatial concepts, whether following directions or using these concepts expressively, during your beach day. For example, prompt your child to follow directions like “put the rock under the bucket!” or “bury it in the sand!” Conversely, you and your child can take turns hiding items around the beach and describe their location using spatial concept words!
8 Years Old and Up:
Last but not least, let’s talk about ways to support your older child’s speech and language!
- Pack the bag: Give your child the responsibility of packing the beach bag for the day! Use this as an opportunity to follow commands of increasing complexity, like a list of five or six items (get the sunscreen, water bottle, towel, beach ball, and sunglasses). You can also provide an additional challenge by incorporating numeric concepts, like “get three towels!”
- Articulation goals: Need to continue working on any specific speech sounds? No problem! Before heading to the beach, create a list of words for your child’s specific sound(s) sound and target them once you’re there – for example, sand, sun, sandal, and seagull can be on your child’s “s” word list!
- Sequencing of the day: Once you’re home for the day, have your child sequence the events of the day! Ask him or her questions such as, “what did we do first?”, “what happened next?,” or “what was the last part of our day?”
Whether your summer plans include traveling to a coast or enjoying the beach in our very own city, there are so many ways to continue working on your child’s speech and language goals. If you are looking for additional ways to carryover practice during your summer break, feel free to reach out to one of our speech-language pathologists for even more ideas!
Questions or concerns?
If you have questions or concerns about targeting your child’s speech and language this summer, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 773-332-9439.
Kelsey Martin, MS, CCC-SLP
Photo Credit: Image by Christo Anestev from PixaBay