Category: General

Language Fun in the Sun

Language Fun in the Sun

Happy 2019! While we count down to the last few weeks of the school holidays, how about some water play to cool ourselves in the sunny Australian weather?


It is easy to add more language into water play activities. If you have toddlers or preschool children, here are some ideas to incorporate interesting language while you are out and about doing summer water play activities:

At the beach – in the waves and on the shore

When your child is building sand castles, you might start a conversation by talking about what your little one is doing. Below is an example to introduce words such as sand castle and shovel:

Adult: Oh, you’re building sand castles!

Child: Yeah, I’m going to make a big one. I’m going to use this.

Adult: Oh, you’re going to make a big sand castle! Are you using a shovel?

Child looks confused. Adult points to shovel.

Child: Yeah to dig.

Adult: Wow, you’re using a shovel to dig. Can I help you build the sand castle?

 

The beach is an ideal location to practice verbs in the water as well as on the sand, such as: splashing, jump, swim, dive, surfing run, digging, find, look, dive.

As well as verbs, the beach is a great play to introduce language concepts in context, such as:

  • Size: big wave, small shell, long surfboard
  • Texture: wet sand, sharp rock, slimy sea weed
  • Temperature: hot sand, cool water
  • Colours: red bucket, purple shell
  • Shape: round hole

A great family favourite of ours is ‘I Spy’. You can make a simple version using the concepts discussed above or just take turns to talk about what you can see or hear at the beach. For example: I spy with my little eye something that is blue and you can dig with it,

You could even take along some animals/dinosaurs/Duplo/ mini people for pretend play activities in the sand.


In the pool

Playing hide and seek or a game of treasure hunt in the pool is great fun with lots of opportunities for adding in a variety of language. Just hide some the toys in the pool and tell your child what to look for/find – you can make your instructions easy or more difficulty to suit your children’s needs. Let your child take a turn at giving you the ‘clues’ for finding a specific object, that way your child gets practice at careful listening, following instructions as well as using his/her own language.

Here are some examples of different types of instructions you can include:

  • Find all of the blue balls
  • Find something that has fins and sharp teeth
  • Find something that floats and is round
  • Find something on the big step that is red

If you have more than one child you can have ‘races’ to see who can find the object first, or you can encourage waiting and taking turns.

If your child is not interested in these types of games, little nursery rhymes and songs are great fun for the pool:

  • Humpty Dumpty (while sitting on the edge of the pool and ‘falling’ in)
  • Galumph went the little green frog
  • 5 speckled frogs
  • A sailor went to sea sea sea
  • Row row row your boat
  • 1, 2, 3, 4,5 once I saw a fish alive

There is even a lot of language that you can incorporate into the simple activity of blowing bubbles (under water or through a straw):

  • Try to blow: lots of bubbles, little or big bubbles, bubbles up high/down low, fast bubbles or slow bubbles.

Or you just talk about what he/she and you are doing in the pool, using short clear sentences with a range of vocabulary, such as:

  • Can you jump in?
  • I’m going to swim to the edge
  • Let’s blow some bubbles
  • Oh, that was a big splash
  • I’m going to kick slow… now faster, faster, faster!
  • Oops where did the ball go?
  • Oh, there it is … in the deep end

At a water play table (or even just in the bath!)

For reluctant communicators/talkers you can keep the toys in a see through, but hard-to-get-into container to encourage your child to request their favourite toys, creating a situation to motivate him/her to communicate/use language.

For younger children you can talk about lots of exciting things happening using:

  • Descriptions: full/empty, wet/dry, soft/hard, big/small,
  • Verbs: splash, spill, tip/pour, float, sink,
  • Prepositions: up, down, in, into, on, under, near, next to, with, behind,

For older toddlers/preschoolers you can introduce predicting – which ones might float or sink.

 


We hope these suggestions have given you some additional ideas on how you can add in more language while playing with your children at the beach, pool or at home with a water play table (or in the bath).

 

Have fun learning and splashing!

Great Christmas Gifts for your Toddler

Great Christmas Gifts for your Toddler

Christmas is just around the corner. If you are still doing some shopping for your toddler, this blog post is here to help! Whether you have a child who is typically-developing or has a communication delay, these toys are a great addition to your child’s toy collection.

 

1.  Play set

If you’re always on the hunt for toys, you’ll come to realise there are a huge variety of play sets. Kitchen play, construction/building, doctor’s, pet shop… you name it! With play sets, your child is exposed to less familiar vocabulary such as stethoscope, spanner, tongs, cash register. Play sets also encourage pretend play, which develops other skills including imagination, visualisation and problem solving.

 

 

2. Mr. Potato Head

This is one of our personal favourites! You can get so creative with this, from naming the parts, to making silly potato heads. With many sets including Mrs. Potato head, you can also introduce pronouns (e.g., he, she, his, her). There are also other play sets which include costumes for the potato heads which is again great for extending your child’s vocabulary, for example, in our set we have outfits for an explorer, diver, alien, surfer. We use this often in our therapy sessions, and the kids love it!

 

 

 

 

3. Bubbles

You must be thinking… bubbles?! Yes, bubbles! Speech Pathologists use bubbles in therapy to teach toddlers or children with delayed language the skill of requesting and commenting.  Depending on your child’s level of communication, he/she can use gestures, or one to two words,  such as: more, up, pop, more bubbles, bubbles gone  etc. There are so many different types of bubbles and bubble blowers, even the most simple (and inexpensive) are loved by the little ones. Here are a selection of ours that we use in our therapy sessions.

 

 

 

4.  Shape sorters

We’re sure many children have shape sorters but how about an interesting one like this? We like how it’s an unconventional shape sorter and you can use this toy to target verbs such as ‘stop’, ‘go’, fast, slow, ‘spin’. Verbs are often overlooked when encouraging children’s language.  We found this concrete mixer shape sorter at Target if you’re interested (maybe one of our next purchases!). 

5. Bath toys

Many children love water play. And what’s even better is using bath time to make learning fun! You can encourage simple verbs and prepositions, such as: ‘splash’, ‘push’, ‘float’, ‘on’, ‘in’, and ‘under’. You might be interested in our post coming up on water play – just in time for the Australian summer holidays!

 

 

 

6.  Kinetic Sand

Kinetic Sand feels different to regular sand. It holds its shape a lot better, making it more interesting and fun (and a lot less messy, so it is suitable for inside play!). Like regular sand you can make different things with it, allowing children to develop a range of skills including fine motor, pretend play and language. We use ours in our therapy sessions in lots of different ways, such as making dinosaur and space scenes and playing hide and find games.

 

7.  Play dough

Most kids love play dough! You don’t have to buy an elaborate set – just a few cutting tools, and simple shape cutters can give some children hours of fun. We sometimes see who can make the longest snake, the biggest ball, the best cookie – all needing no tools, but still lots of fun. There is so much descriptive language that can be incorporated into play dough activities, such as: soft, squishy, squashed, squeeze, flat, round, long. Another great addition are play dough mats – pictures or picture scenes that you can add to with play dough. You can easily find some really good ones for free on the internet.

 

8.  Balls

We use balls quite frequently in our therapy sessions. There are many different textured balls some very soft which are great for inside play. It is important to choose the type of ball that is suitable for your child, depending on his motor skills, size etc. There are lots to do with balls, from playing early turn taking games, catching, kicking, hide and seek, or simply just rolling. Not only can you encourage the use of verbs (catch, kick, push, stop, go), you can also encourage describing words (big, small/little, soft, round, colours). A ball pit is also a great addition!

 

 

 

9.  Colouring supplies

This would be an ideal present this Christmas if your child is ready to sit at a table. We recommend parents to get some paper- based colouring supplies for their children rather than just using an iPad. While the iPad is a convenient tool, it does not allow children to develop some of the fine motor skills (e.g., pencil grip) that they will need at school. Table-top activities also help children learn to learn to focus and attend to specific tasks for a short period, preparing them for school.

 

10.  And last but not least… Books!

If you have not seen our other blog post “My Favourite (Tried and Tested!) Books for Toddlers/Young Children” please do. There are a variety of books We’ve recommended which are equally great as gifts. As we were browsing, we found another gift set that we are absolutely stoked to share with all of you. It is also currently on half price in Big W!

 

 

 

There are no affiliate links in this post and we are not advertising any specific toys – just offering you some gift suggestions and how these types of toys can help your child’s language development through fun and play.

We hope you’ve found the perfect presents for your little ones. Happy holidays, everyone!