Summertime Speech Therapy at Home
It’s almost summer and that means that the kids will be ready to take in the sun and have lots of fun! Don’t let your child’s break from school cause them to fall behind with their speech and language goals; instead, use fun at-home activities to help stop the “summer slide.” You can use the toys, games and activities below to work on speech therapy at home to help your child continue to make progress while they are off and splashing in the pool.
Go to a Farmers Market
There are so many fun things to look at, taste and experience at the farmers market. You can talk about all sorts of categories with your child. Think about sorting into:
- Type of food – Berries and nectarines are fruits, lettuce and onions are vegetables (for older children, you can talk about why)
- Colors – Red apples and red tomatoes, yellow flowers and yellow corn
- Flavors – Ice cream and peaches are sweet, peanuts and cheese are salty
You can also help your child make a list for what they might find at the market and then see if you can find it. For children that know how to read and write, they can practice doing so. For children that are younger, think about grabbing a magazine in advance and having them cut out pictures of what they think they might find at the farmer’s market. This can be a visual grocery list.
Speech Therapy at Home and on Road Trips
Speech therapy at home isn’t always at home. Who doesn’t spend some time in the car traveling during the summer. This time does not all have to be spent on the tablet. There are many games that we can play in the car that target speech or language goals. Be sure to ask your speech therapist how to modify your child’s speech or language targets to these types of activities. Here are some ideas from
- Road Trip Scavenger Hunt –Make a list of the things you could see on a road trip (traffic signs, animals if you are driving in rural areas, different types of vehicles, etc). You may create a list that is specific to your destination like the beach or mountain landscape. This is a fantastic way to expand your child’s vocabulary.
- I Spy Categories – We all know how to play this game. The key is to modify it for your child’s language level. To give a clue for “tree,” you can either say: “it’s big and green,” or “I spy something green, it is part of nature, it is very tall and provides shade,” or give more complicated vocabulary by saying “I spy something huge, verdant and it gives shelter from the sun.” When your child is doing the “spying,” it helps them work on their descriptive skills, and when they are guessing, it works on their inferencing abilities. Include a wide range of descriptions, such as size, form, color, function, and characteristics.
Summer Bubbles Articulation
Bubbles are a part of summer and they can also be a part of speech therapy at home over the summer break. You can dress the kids up in their bathing suit and let them get all soapy out in the backyard. Here are some great ideas for targeting different speech and language goals all while running around outside.
Speech or language goals:
- Concepts: – Open/close (the bottle), Up vs Down (where are the bubbles going)
- Verbs – blowing, opening, flying, falling, spilling
- Articulation – /b/ (bubble), /p/ (pop), /r/ (run), “ch” (chase)
- Vocabulary – Wand, run, pop, bubble, chase
- Following Directions – Blow the bubble, pop the bubble, run after the bubble
- Social Skills – Take turns with the bubble wand, ask for help opening the bottle
On those hot summer days, a sweet treat is always appreciated, especially if it’s a cool treat! Making popsicles is a great way to hide speech therapy at home.
- Following Directions – A structured activity like making popsicles is a great way for kids who need a little help following directions to practice following 2-3 step directions. Give your youngster instructions in 2-3 steps to complete the assignment. “First pick your flavor, then open the lid, then pour the juice into the mold!” for example. To assist children comprehend and follow the instructions, you may need to repeat your instructions a few times or give visual clues such as modeling.
- Wh Questions for Older Kids – Ask your child a range of more complex “WH” questions if they are working on higher level skills (Who, What, Where, When, Why). “Why can’t we keep popsicles out of the freezer for a long time?” is one example. “When is the best time to make popsicles?” or “Would you want to make flavored popsicles?” Understanding and answering questions is a big part of language development as well as a crucial and functional skill!
Go Camping (Even in the Backyard)
What child (or adult) doesn’t enjoy going on adventures in nature and sleeping beneath the stars? Try a fun camping trip with your child, or simply pitch a tent in your own garden (or even inside the house) for a fun night! Use your imagination! Make s’mores with your friends, get out the sleeping bags, and don’t forget the flashlights. Here are some speaking objectives you may work on throughout your late-night adventure:
- Longer sentences – Find some fun campout activities to talk about with your child and model making single words into longer 2-3 word phrases. If your child says “fire,” you can model “big fire.” If your child says “more” when they see the s’mores, you can model “more treats,” or “gimme more please.”
- Big kid categories – Work on your child’s ability to classify at a higher level. You can try to brainstorm “Camping Gear,” “Animals that Come Out at Night,” or give them choices and ask them which category something belongs in. For example, you can ask: “are bears mammals?” or “is gathering firewood a camping activity? Why?”
After a long year of hard schoolwork, many kids look forward to a slower pace of life over the summer. However, just because daily life slows down doesn’t imply your child’s learning should. There are a variety of fun summertime activities you can start doing right now to assist your child improve their speech and language abilities in the months ahead. Speech therapy at home where you are their main therapist and teacher can not only help them improve their communication abilities, but it will also help them maintain the skills they’ve acquired over the year.
Therapy Works Together – Online Speech Therapy for Children and Adults
We care about every child and adult achieving their speech, language and communication goals. You can start speech therapy online now with a certified speech language therapist. We’ll discuss your personal needs, develop an individualized treatment plan, and schedule affordable online therapy sessions online at your convenience.