Are you looking for ways to fight the Summer Slide? The best way is by reading regularly … but that’s not the only way! Spark your child’s imagination with these tips from our speech language pathologists.
Join us April 30 for the Spartanburg Summer Shakedown Event and learn more tips to #FightTheSummerSlide. Register now!
Build a fort
Whether inside with sheets and pillows, or outside with sticks and rocks, build a fort! This is a great and fun way to let your imagination run wild and escape from technology. Facilitate language through asking questions, inspiring ideas and pretending to be different characters. – Laura Maurer
Hit the kitchen
Bake and cook together. It can be as simple as store-bought cookie dough or as complicated as your best family recipe. The kitchen is a great place to learn how to follow directions and sequence, as well as social skills such as manners, patience, hygiene and safety. Bonus activity, deliver some of your goods to a neighbor, relative, or friend and work on more social skills! – Laura Maurer
A great way to try new flavors is to freeze them into popsicles. Invite your child to add spinach, blueberries and bananas to the blender, then pour concoction into an ice cube tray. Add sticks before freezing. A great way to use fruit and veggies before they spoil. – Victoria Burnos
Hit the trail
Take a hike and identify as many items as possible using letters of the alphabet. For A, you might see an alligator, for B, touch the tree bark. Find things from A to Z outside! You may have to get really creative and be a little silly! – Victoria Burnos
While on a hike, use different adjectives to describe things you see. The rocks might be bumpy, slippery, shiny, dirty; the water may be cold, dark, deep, dirty; the walk itself might be strenuous, difficult, quick, long or brisk. Using varied vocabulary to describe objects will encourage your child to use a variety of vocabulary words, too! – Amy Cherry
Take a walk
On a walk around your neighborhood, categorize things you see. You might see a car, truck, motorcycle, dump truck, fire engine – all things that “go.” Help your child name other items within the category. Then come up with a category and see who can name the most items that fit into the new category! – Amy Cherry
Play “I Spy” with letters, numbers, sight words and new vocabulary! Walk around your neighborhood and see who can “spy” all the letters of the alphabet. Learning sight words – see you can “spy” them in street signs, grocery stores, billboards and check-out counters. – Victoria Burnos
Have a ball
In the pool or at the beach, toss a beach ball back and forth and see how many target words you can say (correctly!) before your turn at catching the ball. Parent has to say a word, too! For /r/, you might say red roses, rainbows, raindrops, and raccoons and then pass the ball to another! – Amy Cherry
Hit the backyard
The crisp summer air and dusk evenings beckon for some stargazing. Pull out your beach towel and lay out as a family in your backyard. Use a star chart (like this one) to find the constellations. Prefer daytime? Download the Skyview App to find the constellations around you anytime! – Victoria Burnos
Pack a picnic for your own backyard! Start the day before and plan the menu with your older children – then create your shopping list. What ingredients do we need to make our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? Encourage your child to plan ahead and make a list of all the cutlery, blankets, activities and snacks you all might need. The morning of the picnic, put everything together and let your child help you prepare the food. Bon appetit! – Victoria Burnos
Head to the farmers market
Visit a farmers market to try to new foods. It is a great opportunity to smell, feel and taste new fruits and vegetables straight from the farm. You may try different cheeses and smell a variety of flowers, too! – Victoria Burnos
Splish Splash this summer
With the summer comes hot weather, and it’s the perfect time to practice your child’s speech sounds while hitting the water. You can include /s/ and /s/ blends with water play. Some favorite activities are swimming, sprinklers, slip n’ slides, and water guns. There are many vocabulary and /s/ loaded words that would fit right into the day including, “slip n’ slide,” “swim,” “sweat,” “splash,” “squirt,” and “spray.” – Sara Fulton
Beach Treasure Hunt
If you take a trip to the beach this summer, there are all sorts of treasures to find. Go exploring with your little one and see how many things you can find to fill up your bucket. Afterward, take turns describing how the items you found look, feel, and what they are made of. This helps boost your child’s expressive language and description skills. -Sara Fulton
Keep up with those ABCs during the summer by using sidewalk chalk and writing out the letters of the alphabet with your child. Then, place foam letters into a baby pool filled with water. Encourage your child to find a given letter from the pool and place it onto the chalk letter. You can also work on having your child find the letter that makes a given sound by asking, “Which letter makes the sssssss sound?” – Sara Fulton
Place some of your child’s small plastic toy bugs, dinosaurs, and other animals into an ice tray. Fill them with water and freeze overnight. In the morning, you will have creatures from the “ice age” that are trapped in ice. Have your children help melt them with their hands, on the hot sidewalk, or even use a toy hammer to help break them free. You can expand on language by naming the animals, where they live, and what they like to do. -Sara Fulton
Pool Noodle Repurposed
A project for some rainy day fun. You can have your child help make a pool noodle ramp for a marble race. Cut a pool noodle in half and prop it up on a couch or table. Find a bucket to catch your marbles and see who can be the first person to get a marble into their bucket. This could be a good reinforcement activity while practicing words with your child’s speech sound. After each word, they get to race a marble. – Sara Fulton
Who doesn’t love a sweet summer treat? You can work with your child on sequencing and explaining the process of how to make a s’more from getting the ingredients, to roasting the marshmallow, to the order of assembling the s’more. – Sara Fulton
Let’s meet at the table for a Play-doh Party! The best thing about Play-doh is you can work with all ages and have a great time:
Early Intervention – Practice requesting different cookie cutters (e.g., “Do you want the cow or the horse?”), following simple directions, and modeling actions.
Preschool – Practice naming shapes, colors, prepositions.
School Aged – Practice sequencing to make homemade play-doh, math concepts (e.g., more, less, most), and grammatically correct sentences about your playdoh objects. – Lauren Wickliffe