Now that the weather is nicer and warmer, it is great to get outside with your child and enjoy some fresh air. There are so many ways to incorporate language skills when playing outside with your child. Continue reading for 10 fun ideas to try out with your child.
10 ways to work on language skills at the park
1. Play with a Ball
Grab a ball from home and head over to the park. Provide your child with options of what he wants to do with the ball (Ex. kick it, bounce it, roll it, throw it). Have your child request what to do with the ball (Ex. “I want to bounce it”). Another way you can use the ball is to take turns throwing or rolling it back and forth with your child. Chose a category and each time one of you has the ball name an item from the category (Ex. Colors; green, red, blue…).
2. Follow directions
Help your child create a plan of what he wants to do at the park. Then bring the list with you to the park and help your child follow his plan. Check off each activity after your child finishes. (Ex. 1. Go down slide; 2. Go on swings, 3. Go on monkey bars, 4. Play in sandbox). You can also give your child directions to follow when you’re already at the park. (Ex. Go down the slide two times then go on the swing).
3. Play “I Spy”
Play I spy with your child to practice his listening skills. Give your child a description of something you see in the park. For example; I spy with my little eye, something tall, is green and brown, and has leaves (tree). See if your child can describe some objects for you.
4. Play with Bubbles
Have your child request for you to blow bubbles (ex. I want bubbles). Ask your child where he wants you to blow the bubbles (ex. Up high or down low). Check out my previous article about using bubbles to encourage language skills.
5. Play with Sidewalk Chalk
Bring some sidewalk chalk with you to the park. Have your child request for colors he wants to use (ex. “I want blue”). Have your child talk about what he is drawing. You can also practice following directions. Provide your child with directions of items to draw (ex. 1-step direction- Draw a blue square; 2-step directions- Draw a blue square and a yellow circle).
6. Talk about colors
The park is filled with all different colorful objects from flowers to trees to playground equipment. Ask your child to tell you about all the things he sees in the park that are a specific color. Ex. Tell me all the things you can find that are green. Tell me all the things you can find that are red.
7. Pack a favorite snack
Before going to the park, have your child help pack a favorite snack and drink to bring. Let your child be part of the planning. You can provide him with a few healthy options and let him chose. Help him to create sentences to request what he wants (Ex. “I want an apple”). Once you’re at the park, let your child request for the snack when he wants it. Check out additional ways to cook with your child to improve language skills.
8. Take Turns
Whether it is taking turns on a swing, going down the slide, or going across the monkey bars, help your child to appropriately take turns with his peers. You can help your child request for his turn (“It’s my turn”) and have him let another child know when it’s their turn (“It’s your turn”).
9. Recall events
When you get home from the park try to have your child express what he did there. This may be difficult for your child if he has some trouble answering questions. Providing your child with some options of what he did at the park may help him to successfully recall events (ex. Did you go swimming or play on the swing?).
10. Just have fun
Even when you’re not focusing on specific language goals your child is learning new vocabulary and skills by just being at the park. Going to new places and being in new environments is great for improving your child’s language skills. He will also get some great language models by playing with his peers. Get out and enjoy the fresh air!
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