The summer holidays are fast approaching here in the UK – we even have some sunny weather (at last) to prove it. I’ve finally been able to get out my daughter’s summer dresses and leave the house on occasion without a coat!
The summer holidays are a great opportunity for a bit of a break, so the last thing I’m going to recommend you do with your kids is bombard them with things that look like “work” ie worksheets and so on. However, it is a time where there are great opportunities for expanding your child’s language especially if you have some time off together as a family, either at home or away. Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re out and about with your children this summer:-
- I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I will say it again – have fun! We all learn best when we are enjoying ourselves, and children are no exception!
- If you’re going somewhere new, talk to your child about what you will do beforehand. Ask them questions – what do you think we will see? How will we get there? What will we eat etc? If your child finds it difficult to talk about things outside of the here and now, it’s great if you have a leaflet or something for the place you’re going to that you can talk about to give them some visual support. Alternatively, look it up on the Internet and use the photos on their website to talk about.
- Take fun photos of your day. Print them out, if you can or move them around on a Word document or PowerPoint, whatever is easier. Talk about the pictures with your child and pick out your favourites together. Practise sequencing by putting the photos in the order that the day happened.
- Practise giving opinions. At the end of the day, ask everyone in the family what their favourite thing was and why. You could use the photos you’ve taken to help with this if you need to. Some children with language difficulties find it hard to understand that not everyone thinks like them. Talk about how we all like different things and that’s ok.
- Collect interesting objects with your child while you’re out and about. For example, if you’re outside somewhere, you might collect a pine cone, an acorn or a (wild!) flower. See how many different things you can collect, and talk about them. This is great for vocabulary development – name the things but also describe them – colour, size, what they feel like, what you could do with them etc.
- See if each person in the family can find a word that they like or that they didn’t know on your trip. See if they can remember it and tell it to everyone else over dinner, saying what it means. There are more ideas for learning new words here.
This summer, we are keeping a scrapbook of things we have done. In it, we are putting leaflets of places we’ve been as well as photos, small objects of interest etc. This is a great way to keep a record of what you’ve done and is also great for language too – when putting it together with your child, you can practise memory, sequencing and vocabulary.
Living in Britain, it is unlikely that the lovely weather is going to hold for the whole summer! So if you’re stuck in at home trying to entertain the children, here are a few ideas to get everyone talking….
- Look through old family photos and talk about them.
- Act out a favourite story. I’ve talked about the benefits of this here. Then think of other ways the story could have ended and act those out too.
- Take turns to think of something around the house and describe it. See who can be first to run and get the thing that’s being described.
And if you’re out in the car, there are ideas for word games when travelling here. I wrote this at Christmas, but you just need to change the examples to make it relevant for any time of year.
Have a great summer holiday whatever you’re doing!…