Summer is here and if you don’t have your speech and language materials ready, now is the time to do it. Some children start summer speech services in July, while others might go year-round. It is important to take advantage of the “summer theme” because it helps to build new vocabulary and relate activities the child may be currently participating into their speech and language goals. If they are not receiving summer services, it’s still important to maintain skills and promote language throughout the sunny season. Brainstorm a few summer themed activities or look here to get started.
This theme involves a lot of food ideas in the context of a sizzling grill. Cooking themes can include food vocabulary as well as direction following with concepts used in the kitchen like stir, turn, flip, mix, hot, cold, too much, too little, yummy, gross etc. Ideas include:
Brainstorming a grocery shopping list by category to practice category naming (e.g., We’re going to shop for the cookout, what do we need for drinks? What do we need that is a fruit?)
Following directions by cooking what the guests want (e.g., practice giving cooking directions to follow such as, “after you cook the hotdog, I’d like some mustard on top.”) For props, of course pretend food can be used, as can some fun apps for simulating a grill. Check out Yummy Burger Maker or BBQ for Free.
Traveling is a great summer theme because parents can carryover the same targeted language goals if they decide to take a trip.
Pack a “suitcase” by identifying items from their function. For example, instructors can give children clues to help them find each item to pack by its function. Examples include: “we need something to keep our skin from getting burnt,” “can you find something that’s round and floats in the pool?” etc.
Another great way to pack a suitcase with language goals is by using rhyming words or phonics clues that encourage the child to listen and follow through with finding specific items that follow the instruction such as “can you find something that sounds like clip clops [flip flops]?” Or “we need to pack something that starts with “t,” do you see anything that starts with “t”?”
Storytelling and narrative development is an easy topic to tackle when it comes to summer vacations. Ask children to re-tell their vacation stories while targeting sequential concepts, past tense, and true narratives. Motivating ways to do so might include having parents send in pictures from the actual trip, redrawing it, re-enacting it with toys or using an iPad story-telling app.
What summer wouldn’t be complete without the beach? Ocean animals, surfing, swimming, and sandcastles are all great topics that instructors can use when using a beach theme. Try a beach-themed barrier game for targeting expressive goals by giving yourself and the child a sand scene and various props such as a shovel, crab, castle, boy etc. Put a barrier between yourself and the child and ask them to describe their picture to you in a way that lets you make an exact copy. This is great for targeting prepositions (e.g., “put the castle next to the shovel”). For targeting pronouns such as your and my, encourage the child to review the pictures afterwards using these words (e.g., “Your picture has the shovel in the wrong place! My picture has the shovel on the bottom.”)
Speech Buddies is on a mission to improve the lives of children with speech and language challenges. We help by connecting your family to the best speech therapists in your area and providing clinically proven practice tools that reduce treatment time.