Summer is officially here! It is the perfect time to get outside and practice communication skills
for kids of all ages and skill sets. Here are some ideas to foster those communication skills as you head out with your kids for some outdoor summer fun.
For toddlers and preschoolers, playgrounds and splash pads are great places to practice playing and interacting with others. You can help your child initiate or join in a play activity with other kids, take turns, learn about other kids, and resolve any conflict. Their vocabularies are expanding at a fast rate so be sure to label things as you go along on your outside adventure. After you get home, you could have your little one color a picture about what they did outside and talk about it.
School age kids are curious and eager to learn new things. Any outdoor summer activity your child enjoys can be turned into an opportunity to practice communication skills. You can practice tricky sounds. For example, if your child is having trouble with L, you can practice it while at the beach (e.g., Look, Lifeguard, fLoaties, shaLLow water, goggLes, castLe, shoveL, paiL, etc). You can support a variety of both basic and higher-level communication skills such as following directions, planning, organization, and problem solving by having your child help you plan your summer activities. They can help you read seed packages and figure out how to make a garden grow. If you are going for a hike or bike ride, you can have your child help you figure out the trail or route. They can help you plan and pack a picnic. The possibilities are endless!
For kids of all ages, sharing experiences outside can create natural opportunities for conversation. You can start by talking about the here and now. Describe what you see outside – the weather, the playground equipment, the leaves and flowers, the dogs passing by, etc. Ask your child what they see and what they think about it. You can expand the conversation as much as you want. Be sure to share your thoughts and ideas too. Outdoor adventures also provide a great chance to practice story telling skills. Have your child tell grandparents or friends what they did outside later in the day.
Finally, summer is a great time to engage in literacy activities with your child. Visit your library to check out what reading programs are happening. Many libraries have reading and social programs for kids of all ages over the summer months.
If you have questions or concerns about your child’s communication skills, please contact our Speech Language Pathologists at CTN!