Summer Activities for Language Development

By: Karissa Rutten M.S., CCC-SLP

The weather is warmer and more activities are becoming available to participate in!  As a toddler Mom and Speech Language Pathologist, I’m always looking for new, fun activities to do with my son.  So, for the summer season blog post, I decided to compile a list of some of my favorite activities that are fun, affordable, and functional – along with ways of how you can easily promote speech and language development while participating in them. 

NOTE: While I do list specific locations for the Boise/Meridian area, if you live outside of these areas you can check out your local library or community resource page for similar events and locations local to your area.

  1. Story/Music time in the park through local libraries
    1. Not only do the kids love to sing and dance, but music and nursery rhymes help promote language development because they are routine, interactive, and rhythmic.  This helps children discriminate words, imitate, and retain them.  
    2. Social interaction.  These music times give children opportunities to build their imitation skills by copying you and each other.  They are also given lots of time to play with each other in activities like bubbles, dancing, and making music.
    3. Here is a link to the Boise area story/music time schedule:
  2. Splash Pads
    1. You can jump on in the water with your child and build language using anticipatory routines such as: ‘Ready… Set… Go!’  
    2. While narrating what you and your child are doing in the water, you can model descriptive vocabulary such as: Wet, Cold, More/Less, Big, Fast, Fun.
    3. There are numerous splash pads in the Boise/Meridian area that have free access such as: Borah Park, Ivywild Park, and Settlers Park to name a few. 
  3. Camping
    1. The best part of camping is that there are NO screens!  So, this will naturally create an amazing environment for language development by allowing you and your child to interact more and be present with one another.  
    2. Some examples of what skills can be encouraged while camping include building vocabulary by talking about what you see, following directions to set up camp, and answering wh- questions such as ‘What do we use to see in the dark?’ or ‘Where do we go to swim?’
  4. Applying Sunscreen
    1. As simple as this activity may sound, you can build receptive knowledge of things like body parts by talking about where you are applying their sunscreen: Arms, Legs, Neck, etc.  You can see if they can try to imitate the body parts you name or you can give them a 1-step direction such as ‘Put the some on your Belly!’
  5. Zoo!
    1. You can work on verbal imitation skills by modeling animal sounds.
    2. Build animal vocabulary by talking about the animals you see.   I also recommend reading books about Zoo animals before and after you go to the Zoo to help reinforce those words.  Some of my favorites are Dear Zoo and Goodnight Gorilla.

Happy Summertime!


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