Spring Language Activities !
Here are some ways to have fun with your child this spring while building stronger language skills.
Since language is a system of symbols, playing with symbols helps children learn about language. There are many ways to get in character and enter into a CHILD DIRECTED dialogue.
Pretend to be part of the cherry blossom festival !
This is a good way to help your child plan ahead and work on those executive functioning skills. Decorate a box to look like a float. Ask your child what she wants the float to look like, and then help her plan what materials are needed to transform the box. Help her stick to the plan and problem solve. When it is complete, celebrate by getting out the instruments and pretending to be in the parade!
Pretend to be a bug.
Put on some wings and pretend to be a bug. For children who like to “crash and boom”, this is a great way to get some proprioceptive input. Once your wings are on, fly around the house and pretend to crash into the walls. Children think this is funny. Once they are laughing, have them figure out what happens next. Ask your child, “what do we do now?” and follow your child’s lead.
Auditory comprehension is the ability to make meaning out of spoken language. Children need to be able to filter out background noise, focus on the speaker, interpret linguistic concepts (e.g. concepts of time and space), and follow multi-step directions.
Pick (or buy) a variety of flowers. Try to find flowers that can be contrasted in obvious ways (short vs. long, etc.). Then ask your child to put the ones that are the “same” together. If this is difficult, guide them into sorting by color. Then, ask them to mix all the flowers up, and sort by a different attribute (size, smell). This encourages flexible thinking.
Follow directions to make a bug.
Use playdough, googly eyes, and pipe cleaners and take turns “teaching” the other how to make a bug. When your child is the teacher, follow his directions. Encourage him to initiate the idea and use descriptive language to tell you how to complete the activity. When you are the “teacher”, give 2-3 step directions and see if he can follow them without visual cues.
There is a significant range of “normal” for expressive language skills during the preschool years. In general, the preschooler needs to be intelligible, able to express his wants and needs, and able to negotiate increasingly complex social situations.
Use a 3-step sequence while making shaving cream butterflies with your child. You will want to model the words “first”, “next”, and “last” while engaged in this activity. For example, “First we put drops of food coloring in the shaving cream, then we spread it with a fork, last we place the paper butterfly on top to make a pattern.” After the activity, ask your child “How did we make butterflies?” If she can’t repeat the sequence independently, you may prompt her with questions.
Retell the story The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Read the story together with the real foods and a wind up caterpillar. Have your child take the caterpillar toy and pretend to eat the foods presented in the story. If your child needs to expand his food repertoire, or improve his oral-motor skills, this is a great opportunity to try bites of new foods in a non-threatening situation.