Children work hard at school, so when the summer comes around, it’s normal for them to want to let off a little steam. However, parents of children who have speech conditions may be a little wary of letting their children embrace the summer without running through some exercises to help with their child’s speech and language development. Parents can be stuck between a rock and a hard place as to what the best approach is when trying to balance a child’s speech exercises and free time.
Luckily, there are a few approaches that will not only help develop your child’s speech, but also fits in snugly with the summer season, so in most cases, children will probably be unaware that they are even undergoing any speech therapy while still being able to enjoy their free time.
The hot weather attracts children in their droves, and most will look for any excuse to get outside to enjoy the sunshine. Sensory play can be easily introduced into a child’s activities without it seeming like a chore. Sensory play not only allows children to explore their environment, but it can also encourage a child’s language stimulation in a meaningful context, which is vital for language learning.
Chalk drawing not only allows children to explore their artistic side, it can also help with word association. Asking your child to draw a specific object can encourage them to open up about the object they are drawing. This allows you to work with them on their speech, while the child is able to benefit from some quality time with their family.
Whether you’re travelling abroad for a well-deserved holiday, or taking a local trip to a scenic landmark, you can incorporate some language goals for the trip. Parents should ask their children to identify items for their day out, for example, what will be needed to ensure that the child enjoys their day? If they’re going to the beach, then they will more than likely want to take their bucket and spade. You can then ask the children to find the items using a series of clues or word that rhymes. Examples include “Can you find what we need to dig in the sand?” and “We need to find an item that starts with B, can you find it?”
The blowing of bubbles is another pastime enjoyed by billions of children around the world, and it is also an ideal opportunity to intertwine some learning for children. Children will relish in the bubbles they are able to create, so why not help their development by using the bubbles as a reference point. You could ask your child to explain whether the bubbles they have blown are large, medium or small in size. You can also introduce the concept of numbers by asking them to count how many bubbles there are, and introduce locative concepts by asking the child to identify the direction the bubbles are going in.
It can be easy to assume that exercises for a child’s speech and language development should be kept separate from their free time, but with some cleaver tailoring, children can still have tons of fun, while still developing their language and speech skills.