By Megan Hayes, MS, CF-SLP
Spring break can take on a variety of forms depending on the year, your family, or the weather. Nevertheless, spring break gives you valuable time to spend with kids who are usually in school much of the week.
It’s time to relax, rejuvenate, and most importantly, have fun!
Here are five fun opportunities to help expand your child’s language skills during spring break.
- Road trips can be a great way to spend quality time with our families and friends!
- Not only do word games help pass the time on long road trips, but they also can expand language skills.
- Have your child look for words beginning with different letters on road signs, license plates, and billboards.
- Play the “name game” by taking turns saying as many different names as you can think of beginning with the letter A, B, C and so on.
- The name game could also be used with categories – naming animals, types of food, things that are cold, etc.
- For some, spring break means spring cleaning. What better time is there for spring cleaning than when you have extra helpers home from school? With the right attitude, cleaning and organizing can be fun and facilitate speech & language skills!
- Children can practice labeling, categorizing, sorting, and problem solving.
- Discuss why items belong in certain places or categories.
- Describe items as you sort them into piles to model and help expand vocabulary and utterance length.
- Teaching your child how to clean is also a way to practice following directions and sequencing.
- Take a break from your spring cleaning and pull out some board games! While board games are fun for the whole family, many are also educational and language-based.
- Examples of games for younger children include: Zingo, Hi Ho Cherry-O, I Spy, Go Fish, and Hoot Owl Hoot.
- Older children may enjoy: Guess Who, Taboo, Catchphrase, Apples to Apples, and Head Banz.
- These games incorporate language by requiring players to follow directions, combine words, describe, categorize, compare and contrast, make requests and answer questions.
- Pragmatic (social) skills are also involved with game-play when it comes to maintaining interaction and attention, turn taking, and sharing.
- Whether you’re headed to the beach, the mountains, amusement parks, or having a staycation, spring break is a perfect time to connect literacy skills from the classroom with real-life situations.
- If your family is making a trip, read about your destination prior to the visit, have the child make an itinerary for the trip, or help write a packing list!
- Spring break is also an opportunity for kids to engage in book reading for pleasure. Here are some fun, spring-themed books: “A Tiny Seed” by Eric Carle, “Planting A Rainbow” by Lois Ehlert, “Miss Rumphius” by Barbara Cooney, “The Gardener” by Sarah Stewart, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle.
- Spring break (hopefully) means warmer weather, so head outside!
- Going for a walk, playing at the park, planting flowers, and grilling on the patio are all activities that involve language.
- For example, before you go to the park, you can work on language by telling your child what you will do.
- On the way there, talk about what you see & hear or describe how you will get there.
- At the park, describe what you and your child are doing and seeing.
- This is can also be an opportunity for children to make choices and communicate wants/needs, whether your child communicates verbally or non-verbally. Don’t forget to take pictures to look back at later & talk more about what you did!
What are some ways your family likes to #makelearningfun during the break? Let us know in the comments below, or on social media! #YourStoryIsOurStory
Speech therapy expert Megan Hayes, MS, CF-SLP, works in McCulloh Therapeutic Solutions’ Spartanburg clinic.