When you think Summer, you probably think beach! Either a beach vacation with the kids or maybe you're lucky enough to live close to the beach (here in Florida we are spoiled being just 10 minutes away and couldn't love it more!). But did you know that the sand, surf, and salty water are filled with opportunities to improve your child's speech? It's a win-win!
Who doesn't love to bring home some beautiful shells to remember a trip to the beach?
Encourage your child to answer "where" questions by asking and answering questions about where the shells are! For example, "Where is that shell?...In the sand!", or "Where should we put it?...In the bucket!". After you do this a few times, ask the question and then let your child answer. Help them out by adding a gesture (like pointing to where the shell is) or giving them the first couple words for their answer ("in the...").
Increase your child's vocabulary by focusing on descriptive words as you collect shells. Use words like big, small round, pointy, smooth, and bumpy as you look at and feel the shells. Having a hands-on experience like this will help your child understand these words better and therefore incorporate them into their vocabulary!
Ready, Set, JUMP!
Get in that salty sea water and encourage your child's speech as you play! Use a fill-in-the blank technique to get your child to say more words. Repeat the same phrase over and over, like "ready, set, jump!" every time a wave comes. After you do this several times, pause at the high point (before you say "jump!"). When you say "ready, set..." and wait, your child might say "jump!" Then of course, you jump over the wave with them, they'll have the BEST time, and will be so motivated to say it again.
Another fill-in-the blank favorite activity in the water is singing "Ring Around the Rosie". After you sing a few times and your child knows the words, pause when you sing the last line ("ashes, ashes, we all fall...") so your child can say, "down!". Then you hold hands and go under water together!
Other Speech Activities at the Beach
Some other favorite, speech-stimulating activities for the beach:
Throw a beach ball back and forth. Call the person's name before you throw the ball to them!
Build a sandcastle. Ask your child to tell you the steps as you build it.
Play "I Spy". Your child will learn to form sentences and name words based on their description.
Beach days are the best days! And knowing your child is learning important speech skills while having fun and making memories with you make them even better.
Amy Yacoub, MS, CCC-SLP | Speech Pathologist
Proud Member of The Story Box Family