Language: Use the same phrases (“Look! I see a…”) and simple sentences with your child. Match the length of your sentence with your child’s sounds/words (if your child uses 1 word, you use 1 word). Use gestures and pointing to help encourage understanding. Label items and pictures (“ice cream cone”) but also describe them (cold, soft, yummy). Encourage following directions (“Give the ball to x”, “Find the little shell”).
Speech: Copy your baby’s sounds in a back and forth manner as if having a conversation. Use fun sounds and words (“whee!”, “ooooo”, “ohhhh”, “wow!”, “uh oh”, “oh no!”). Try to get face to face as much as possible so your child can see your mouth. Speak slowly, emphasize important words (“My feet are IN the water!”), stretch out sounds in words (“ssssswim”, “ssswing”) to draw attention to them.
Cognitive/concepts: Talk about WHERE things are (up/down/in/out/on/off), the SIZE of things (big/little), the FEEL of things (wet/dry), COLORS (red, blue, yellow, green), HOW MANY there are (counting, 1, 2, 3, more, less).
Literacy: Head to the library and browse the books. Give your child plenty of opportunities to interact with books. Read and look at books outside, in a tent, under the table, on the swing – take them anywhere! Allow your child to explore and re-read them as they wish.
Gross motor: Visit a playground! Find one you’ve never visited before. Use a beach ball to go “bowling”, knocking down bottles, or rolling/kicking it back and forth. Cut pool noodles in small pieces and use them for balance as “stepping stones”, throw them all into the baby pool, use them to “stamp” with water on the sidewalk. Keep pool noodles long and use them to jump over/crawl under in an outdoor obstacle course. Cut them in half and use them to keep balloons up in the air.
Fine motor: Stamp Lego Duplos into sand to make prints. Clip clothes pins to cotton balls to stamp/paint rainbow, flowers, sun, trees, etc. Paint on shells/rocks you’ve found. Use your small pool noodle slices and tongs to put pom poms/small items into the holes or try to stack them or string them together.
Sensory: Blow bubbles (target simple vocabulary such as up/down/big/little/more/pop!). Create a beach bin – fill a small, shallow tray with sand and add sand toys/shovels/spoons/shells. Create a water bin filled with water, toy boats, people. You can “wash” play food or dirty toy cars in the water bin. Fill a small tub with cotton balls and use tongs/spoons to fill bowls with “ice cream”. Freeze lego duplos in ice and let them melt outside in a tub then build with them. Talk about what you and your child are doing as you play!
Music: “Oh where, oh where has my little shell gone?” (to the tune of “Oh where, oh where has my little dog gone?”). “Oh Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun” song. Bang on pots and pans (if you can stand it!) “The Waves in the Sea go Up and Down” (tune of “Wheels on the Bus”) (sharks go snap, fish go swish, boats go toot).
Social/Emotional: Decorate paper plates with sun/cloud/flower faces and talk about emotions (happy, sad, mad, sleepy). Talk about feelings when you read them in a book or story or in real life situations. Label/talk about how your child might be feeling when they don’t have the words to tell you.
Happy Summer from Columbus Speech & Hearing Center! Please call if you have any questions or concerns about your child’s speech and language development. Lora McConnell, M.A. CCC-SLP (614) 263-5151 x462 or firstname.lastname@example.org