Summer is a great time to build language skills. These activities are fun, affordable, and provide hours of fun for your child.
Even though routines are more lax, summer provides so many fun activities for building language. This is a great opportunity for families to spend time together, get into nature, and build language the natural way.
For many of the families that I work with, summer camp is not an option. Here are 5 fun summer activities that are free or low-cost. Not only will they keep your children engaged, but they will also keep them actively learning throughout the summer months.
1. Make ice pops
One of the best activities to keep cool can also be a wonderful way to build vocabulary and sequence steps.
For vocabulary building:
- You can bring your child to the market to pick out fresh fruits to use.
- Make it a naming activity and give the names
- Describe using sizes, colors, and textures
- Compare and contrast the different qualities of each fruit and whether or not they have seeds
- Make a picture to show the different fruits you bought
For following directions:
- Help your child follow the recipe
- Use words like first, next, and last
- Give simple directions (give me the watermelon) or more complex directions (after you add the watermelon, press the button)
- As you work, take pictures of each step to have your child sequence the order later or on a different day
(If you’re looking for a fun popsicle mold that doesn’t take up much space, give this one a try!)
2. Visit a local museum, zoo, or aquarium
Another fun activity for building language is just a hop, skip, jump away. In Brooklyn, we have access to some of the world’s best art and culture. Take advantage of this, in a child-friendly way!
Before going, you can:
- Develop early reading skills by creating a map for the subways you will need to get there
- Read a book about some of the things you may see. For example, if going to the museum (on a rainy day, of course!), you could read “When Pigasso met Mootisse” by Nina Laden or Little Frida (or other Little People Big Dreams) before going. This way, the child will have some background knowledge/new vocabulary before your adventure!
- Create a journal to use on your trip
- for younger kids, cut out some pictures of what they may see to do a scavenger hunt while in the museum
- for older kids, provide a prompt, or follow along with the podcast at the museum
- Afterwards, you can talk about what you’ve seen and create your own artwork or collages!
3. Create an outdoor scavenger hunt
Some of the best ways to build language this summer are right in your own backyard. Don’t keep the kids cooped up in the air-conditioned house! Send them out into the fresh air.
Together with your child, you can create a list of things to find in your backyard/on a walk/in the park…
For younger children, the list can be visual, using fun stickers.
For older children, you can make a list that your child can use to practice reading. Another fun way to do this activity is that you hold the list and give your child clues!
4. Keep a journal
Keeping a journal is a great summer activity to build language and support writing skills over the summer.
Writing can also be tedious for many children who struggle with language, so let’s add a fun factor.
It’s as simple as adding an Instax
These things are fairly indestructible (I have had mine for about 8 years and have dropped it in the water several times, but it still takes great pics).
Allow your child to take pictures and then write a line or two under the picture using washi tape and take the stress out of the whole experience by having blank paged journals, rather than lined paper.
When the teacher inevitably gives the writing prompt “what did you do this summer’, they will have something to share with their classmates when they return in September!
5. Go to the beach
Make language a part of your routine for getting ready. Everyone goes to the beach at least once during the summer.
- Have your child make a packing list
- Design your sandcastle before you get to the beach
- Practice ordering your favorite snacks
- For before or after your trip, extend it by coloring these great picture printouts to continue building that beachy vocabulary.
These 5 fun-packed activities will ensure that your child will continue to build language all summer long.