By: Janel Niekamp, M.S., CCC-SLP
Spring has given way to summer and with the weather warming up, now is the perfect time to go on a nature scavenger hunt. Regardless of the season or the weather, heading outside is always a great speech-language activity! There is never any shortage of great things to talk about and look for, all while incorporating a variety of language skills. Whether you’re strolling around your neighborhood or out enjoying a nearby metro parks you can get your little one actively engaged while exploring the great outdoors. Here are just a few of the many language skills you can target while on a scavenger hunt:
Describing: Describe an object by stating its category, size, shape, and color. You can also try comparing and contrasting two objects to work on stating similarities and differences.
- A bee is a type of (insert category)
- A flower is a type of (insert category)
- Can you name two more types of insects? Plants? Trees? Flowers?
Following Directions: Try incorporating basic 1- and 2-step commands with embedded concepts (spatial concepts: between, under, next to) and (sequential concepts: first/then/last) to target their receptive language skills.
- Run to the small tree.
- Go to the tree and look under the rock.
- First find a flower, then a feather
- Put the leaf between the flowers
Object Function: Talk about how we use objects or what we do with it.
- Show me the object that (insert function).
- What does (insert object) do?
- What do you do with (insert object)?
Prepositions: Practice using and understanding spatial concepts (in, on, out of, off) and prepositions (in, on, under).
- Where is the leaf? (in the dirt, on the sidewalk, etc.)
- Put the flower under the tree.
Vocabulary: Your child’s vocabulary is continuously growing. Label different objects and use a variety of adjectives to describe them: fast, shiny, loud, heavy, bumpy, etc. By introducing more objects and descriptive terms each week, your child’s receptive and expressive vocabulary skills will continue to grow.
To celebrate Better Hearing & Speech Month, we asked our clinicians to share some of their favorite therapy materials and activities.
- Toca Boca kitchen
- Toca Boca Tea Party
- Peek-a-Boo Barn
- Articulation Station Pro
- Picture the Sentence
- My Play Home
- My Play Store
- Pizza/Cookie/Cake making apps
- Bag Game
- Teacher Pay Teachers
- YouTube- Pixar Short Films
Favorite Activities To Use In Teletherapy:
- Boom cards
- Show and Tell with toys in your home.
- Annotation feature in Zoom
- Choiceworks app to use as a visual schedule
- Peachie Speechie articulation videos
Favorite Songs to Use In Therapy:
- Clean Up song
- Hello song
- Baby Shark
- 5 Little Monkeys Swinging in a Tree
- Ring Around the Rosie
- Wheels on the Bus
- Old MacDonald Had A Farm
- 5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed
- We are the Dinosaurs by Laurie Berkner
- Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
- Open Shut Them
- Shake it Off by Taylor Swift
Favorite Positive Reinforcements:
- “I love how you ___!”
- “Whoa, you are rocking it!- high five!
- “You did it!”
- “WOAH! You’re TOO good at this! I’m going to need to make speech harder!”
- “Great Work!”
- “You got it!”
- “You are awesome!”
- “Good idea!”
- “Thanks for working so hard!”
Favorite Activities and Games to Use in Therapy:
- Scavenger hunts
- Go Fish
- Pop up Pirate
- Balloon pump
- Sensory play- water, rice, slime
- Pop the Pig
- Wind-up toys
- Critter Clinic
- Guess Who and Guess Where board games
Favorite Picture Books:
- “There was an old lady who swallowed a…” by Lucille Colandro
- “Brown Bear Brown Bear” by Bill Martin, Illustrated by Eric Carle
- ‘That’s Not My ___’ books by Fionna Watt
- “Pete the Cat” book series by Eric Litwin and James Dean
- Usborne lift the flap books
- “Go Away Big Green Monster” by Ed Emberley
- “Who’s Making that Mess?” by Jenny Tyler and Philip Hawthorn
- “Goodnight Gorilla” by Peggy Rathmann
- “Rainbow Fish” by Marcus Pfister
- Berenstain Bears book series by Stan and Jan Berenstain
- “Snowman All Year” by Caralyn Beuhner
- “I Spy” by Jean Marzollo
- “Dear Zoo” by RodCampbell
- “You Choose” by Pippa Goodhart and Nick Sharratt
- Chips and salsa or guacamole
- Starburst jelly beans
- Brown butter rice crispy treats
- Dried fruit
- Dark chocolate peanut butter cups
- Dark chocolate
- Cookie dough
- Ice cream
Eggs provide entertainment that lasts well beyond the Easter season, so why not use them to practice your child’s speech goals?!
- For “WHO” Questions:
- Have your child find or dye eggs with you or someone else and after, discuss “who” made or found each egg
- For Requesting:
- Hide the eggs in eyesight but out of reach to encourage requests for the egg. You can also tape eggs shut to encourage requests for help opening the egg to find their surprise!
- For Speech Sounds:
- Hide pictures/words in plastic eggs, practicing each word by itself or making up a sentence for each egg/word found!
- For Categories or Same/Different:
- Find dollar store trinkets, snacks, stickers, or small toys in the plastic eggs, and after finding them, sort by color, object, category, etc.
- For Prepositions:
- Talk about where your child found each egg; in the drawer, under the couch, on top of the lamp, etc.
- For “What-Happened” Questions:
- Dye hard-boiled eggs and talk about actions like “mixing the dye, stirring it up, dropping the egg in, holding it in, scooping it out, changing the color,” etc.
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This post written for you by Abbey Vielhaber, M.A., CCC-SLP of Columbus Speech & Hearing Center