Spring Activities for Language Development
By Karissa Rutten, MS CCC-SLP
The weather is getting nicer, and the days are getting longer! Which means more time spent outdoors and more opportunities for some new activities. As a toddler Mom and Speech Language Pathologist, I am always looking for new, fun activities to do. So, for this blog post, I have compiled a list of easy, inexpensive, and hopefully functional activities you can do with your child, along with some tips to easily encourage speech and language development. An important reminder, any interaction or activity you engage in with your child will promote speech and language development if you are present, responsive, and talking about what you and your child are doing.
*Note: Some of these ideas are local to the Boise area.
- Nature Walk Scavenger Hunt
- You can explore outside while building Vocabulary and receptive knowledge by Following Directions when searching for items on your list! Here is a link to a great scavenger hunt with visuals: https://www.freekidscrafts.com/summer-scavenger-hunt/
- Picnic in the Park
- Your child can help plan the menu and make the meal with you! Depending on their age, they can put chips into a bag or spread peanut butter on bread. Either way, it is a great way to build their Food Vocabulary and practice Following Directions (put in, more/less, take out, etc.).
- Local Libraries
- They host great (FREE!) Story Time and Music Time events which are AMAZING ways to build skills such as Imitation, Following Directions, Literacy, Vocabulary, Answering Questions, and Social Interaction. During COVID-19 precautions, they have switched to virtual programs and they also have programming available on their YouTube Channel. So neat! Here is the link to their schedule: https://www.boisepubliclibrary.org/calendar/
- They also have a ‘Teen Hangout’ time 1x a month via Zoom, which is a good opportunity for social interaction for teenagers.
- Starting March 29th, all library locations in the Boise area will be open for in person browsing Monday-Friday 2-6pm. Exploring the library and having your child select some books is a great way to increase their interest in books, which in turn builds their speech and language skills! Local Libraries are one of my highest recommended activities I suggest to the families I work with.
- Green Belt
- Walks are a great way to build language skills. You can talk about what you and your child see, hear, smell, touch. This will target Noun Vocabulary (Tree, Grass, Flower, Sky, Cloud, Plane, etc.) as well as Descriptive Words (Green, Blue, Loud, Quiet, Beautiful, etc.).
- Back Yard Egg Hunt
- Use leftover eggs from Easter and fill with snacks for their snack plate, blocks to make a tower, or small balls of playdoh to make a Snake once they have found them all! This activity will naturally encourage Following Directions to find the eggs (under, next to, behind, on top of, etc.) and all the Vocabulary involved by talking about what they find.
- You can work on Colors, Following Directions (‘Draw a Big Red Dog’), and Vocabulary by labeling what you and your child are drawing.
- “Busy Toddler” Blog
- I LOVE following this blogger. She shares easy, functional, and fun activities for kids of all ages. Recently, she shared a “40+ Easter Activities” post that is linked here: https://busytoddler.com/2020/03/easter-activities-for-kids/
- Her Instagram handle is @busytoddler where she frequently shares activity ideas you can do at home.
- Get some shovels, buckets, a watering can (or cup!) and an area of the yard or place at the park to talk about Actions you are doing (Dig, Bury, Pour, Dump, Plant, etc.). You can also talk about Concepts such as Full/Empty, More/Less, Wet/Dry, In/Out. Embrace the mess with this one!
- Plant seeds to work on Sequencing (First, Next, Last) and have fun checking on your plant each day to watch it grow.
- Browse ‘Outdoor’ Stores
- Zamzows to see and talk about the Chicks, Plants, and other Animals.
- Lowe’s/Home Depot to talk about the Flowers and the Bugs that might be crawling/flying near them!
Happy Spring Time!