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Four Activities for Parents to do in the Summer to Help with Speech and Language Skills

It's that time of year when many students are either finished, or school is wrapping up.  Parents start to ask, "What can we do over the summer?"  While sending home a packet of worksheets is one option, I prefer to give parents some concrete suggestions that they can do with their child that are low cost or free and that don't require a significant amount of prep.  Here are four ideas:


1. Read books and check out your local library.  Reading books is a great way to work on speech and language skills.   Local libraries often have great programs for preschoolers and older children and they are often free.  Even if you don't go to the library programs, you are able to pick out a wide variety of books.  Even better, have your child pick out books they might like. Look for books that contain your child's goals.  For example, books on spiders are a great way to work on s-blends.  There are many excellent books that talk about emotions. For a link to a post on the benefits of reading go here.  If you want suggestions on how to read to children, go here.

2. Make memory books.  Children love to read books with themselves as the main character.  Take pictures or have your child take pictures of your outings over the summer.  This can be during a vacation, camping trip, going to the zoo/science centre/amusement park, visiting family or even just going to the park or the grocery store. Take pictures based on what your child is working on.  If your child is working on increasing the number of verbs they use, then take pictures of them sliding, climbing, eating, chasing, leaping, etc...  Memory books are also a great way to work on personal narratives, such as being able to answer, "What did you do over the summer?" If your child is working on their pronunciation, take pictures with objects that contain their sounds.

Make a small book by printing off the pictures and write sentences or have your child write sentences under the pictures. If you have access to Powerpoint or Keynote, put the pictures in the Powerpoint file along with typing out the sentences and print off the book.  If you make it into a PDF, then your child can look at on a smartphone or tablet.  Read the book with your child and show it to other adults in their life.  

3. Cook with your child.  Cooking can work on so many language skills such as sequencing, building vocabulary, and describing.  You can also work in pronunciation goals while cooking too. Find a recipe that has your child's sound in them.  For example, if you are working on "ch," then find a recipe with chocolate.  If you are working on s-blends, then use words such as "spatula," "stir," and "spread."  Make sure that you do any steps of the recipe that you deem to be unsafe for your child.  Cooking with your child also teaches essential life skills.  

4.  Draw with your child.  Draw with your child, have them tell you about their drawing and you talk about what you drew. It can be as simple as them scribbling on the page or making a face/person.  It can be as complicated as drawing a whole scene.  If your child needs help with deciding what to draw, start with a character and talk about the adventures they may go on.   If your child is working on pronunciation, then have them draw pictures with their words in them. 

If you would like more ideas for preschoolers through to grade one on what to do over the summer, here is a freebie that you can download.  I would like to thank the Frenzied Speechies for hosting this linky party that shares amazing ideas for speech and language carry over for the summer.