Summer Speech & Language Building
Parents and caregivers may feel both relief and stressed at the thought of summer vacation, but –Good news! – we’ve got you covered for summer speech and language building!
School Speech Services
For children who receive only school-based speech services, summer means no more “speech class.” However, language development does not end in May and start back up in August. It’s important all children maintain the achievements they made during the school year, and also continue to progress over the summer.
If your child does receive school-based speech services, talk with the speech-language pathologist (SLP) about what areas should be your focus. Ask for practice sheets or “homework” and how you can prepare for next year’s goals.
Ways to Help Build Speech & Language Over the Summer
Amazingly, we use our language skills in all settings every single day! Caregivers can help their children continue their progress with just a little extra effort. No lesson plans needed.
Here’s 4 ways to help your child continue growing their language skills over the summer.
Did you know? Research supports that children who do not read during the summer can lose 2-3 months of reading skills. Kids who do read tend to gain a month of reading proficiency. Whoah!
We know reading is one of the best ways we can help develop language. If your little one isn’t reading yet, read with them, talk about the story, name pictures, and ask what they think will happen next. If you have a reader, help them find books at the library, make time to listen to them read aloud, and talk about the characters. Maybe your child can even author and illustrate their own book!
Make a play date
Social opportunities create natural ways to help a child learn language, get feedback, and practice their interactions. Whether it’s with friends, family members, or yourself – set aside some time to play!
Talk about your day
Help your child adjust to the new summer routine by talking about the day’s activities and what to expect. Perhaps make a calendar or use pictures to help your child understand what will come next. Introduce your older kiddos to the family Google calendar so they can stay updated as well!
Check out TeachingMama.org for more great ideas about visual schedules for toddlers and preschoolers.
New experiences = new language
Vocabulary improves with repeated exposure and practice with new experiences. Here’s a few of our favorite summer activities that build language!
Stay cool at the Splash Pad & Pool
Here in Texas, we spend most of our days where the water is! All those verbs we need to know can be practiced at the pool. Splash, jump, swim, pour, squirt, walk, slide…is “cannonball” a verb?
Take a field trip
There are so many ways to stay busy with summer activities through community events. Bonus if it’s free! Summer camps, library programs, and museum classes can all expose your child to new vocabulary. Try out a farmer’s market, ice cream parlor, concert, or baseball game to get your child exposed to new experiences.
Vacation & Car Rides
Most families are on the go during the summer. Make long travel more fun by putting away the iPad and playing a game of I Spy or the Alphabet game. One person thinks of a word that starts with “A,” then the next person with “B,” and so on. Make a list of as many words you can think of that start with the same letter of your first name. Sing silly songs or jam out to the radio with the best air guitars. Harry Potter on tape, anyone?
Hit the Park
The park and playground are great for more verbs. Push on the swings, go down the slide or up the stairs, and run as fast as you can! “Watch me” and “my turn” are also good to practice here.
Even if you’re like me and kill all plants, let your little one try planting a few things either indoor or outdoor. The care-taking routine of watering, pruning, and loving a little bean can help foster independence and language at the same time.
Bubbles are a top favorite at my house. Requesting help to open the bottle, taking turns, and imitating blowing are great language builders. Help your child talk about how the bubbles fly “up, up, up” or stay on the grass. “POP!” is an early word that kids love to use. Older kids can follow your directions to make their own bubble soap and experiment different ways to create a bubble wand with a shoestring, wire hanger, or even a hula hoop.
Toes in the Sand
Either in the sand box or at the beach, sand is fun! Kids of all ages can dig for shells or rocks, practice pouring into the pail, or make a sand castle. If you hide things in the sand, they can talk about what they find.
Cheap, easy, and so much fun! Bring back the old hopscotch with new vocabulary words, make an obstacle course, or draw and color pictures in the driveway. Let the kids spray off their sight words with the water hose. The possibilities are endless.
Let your child take the lead as they walk around the block or bike around a hiking trail. Let them stop to find treasures from nature and talk about what they see, hear, and feel. Crunchy colorful leaves, bumpy sticks that go ‘snap,’ and buzzing little bugs are just the beginning.
Family BBQ or Picnic
Invite your child to help with the picnic menu or grocery shopping for the BBQ. Talk together about what they see, feel, and taste: brightly colored foods, different flavors, and the ice-cold lemonade. Let them help prepare the food in the kitchen with you- taste testing allowed!
What’s your favorite summer activity to do with the kids?
If you’re looking for even more strategies to help build language, check out our go-to strategies here!