How Can You Practice Speech and Language Skills AND Have Fun?

Jennifer Hill, MA, CCC-SLP with Kaufman Children's Center offers advice for families.

It is just a matter of time before one of your kids utters the dreaded phrase, “I’m bored!” But wait! Before you rush to schedule your child with endless activities, remember that it is also good to leave your kids to their own devices once in a while. It is in times of boredom that we are forced to be creative and imaginative! Dependent upon a child’s age and safety, let them learn how to be alone. This means without electronic devices: regular periods of “digital detox” are highly recommended for your child (and for you too!) Toys, books and crafts can be very calming and therapeutic at any age.

There are also plenty of activities that you can do with your children in order to bond and have fun, and many of them also stimulate learning and language skills.

  • Take a trip to a zoo, farm, park, beach, or museum. Simply talking about what you see and providing answers to your child’s questions is a means to expand their vocabulary. You can discuss simple concepts such as big/little, near/far, up/down, and same/different. Do the animals you come across have fur, feathers, wings, tails? Can they fly, hop, or swim?
  • Try a scavenger hunt walk. Develop a list of items before you leave the house to be found along your walk, letting your child come up with items for the list. They will feel a sense of accomplishment as they cross items off.
  • Work on a project together that will encourage conversation, such as cooking/baking a recipe together, building a fort, or making a craft.
  • Attend a summer reading or enrichment program at your local library.
  • Play summer road trips games like the classic Alphabet Game where kids find a word on a road sign or an item/vehicle/store that you pass that begins with each letter of the alphabet A-Z (“b” for barn, “t” for Target).

In order to build interpersonal skills, children need to be provided with opportunities for practice. Summer is a great time to do this. Children learn the importance of eye contact, reading facial expressions, joint attention, and general social norms or manners when interacting or observing social situations. Summer goes by quickly. Try to relax and enjoy the break, creating memories and spending quality time with your children.

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