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5 Easy Summer Speech and Language Activities

by on June 19, 2015

5 Easy Summer Speech and Language Activities

Summer is almost here and the school year is wrapping up.  I have had many parents come to me asking for ideas for recommendations for summer camps and activities.  There are tons of activities and games that you and your family can do at home!  In fact, you can incorporate speech and language targets into almost every activity.  Here are some examples to get you started:

Obstacle Course

Items needed: ANYTHING! Examples: Hula hoops, hopscotch, slide, monkey bars, tunnels, sprinklers, water balloons, balance beam, jump rope, bear walks, skipping, bikes and scooters.

Concepts/Vocabulary: Receptive language, sequencing, planning, and memory.  Vocabulary should include use of temporal concepts like first, next and last.  Obstacle courses can contain any number of items.  For early language developing kids you can start small with 2 items and focus on “first, then” directions and you can increase the number of steps as language understanding and use increases.

Directions:  Set up an obstacle course (2-5+ items) using materials you find at home.  Model the obstacle course with your child and walk through it, verbally describing all of your actions.  For example, “First, jump on the hopscotch, next crawl through the grass and last run through the sprinkler.”  Next, coach your child to go through the obstacle course independently.  Change the sequence of the obstacles to increase variety of language and keep your child entertained.

Variations: Use a stop watch and make it a race.  Some children enjoy the self-competition and strive to beat their best times. Another variation would be going to a park and making it an auditory memory task.  Give your child 3+ tasks verbally and see if they can remember and complete the tasks in order. For children that are more visual, take pictures with your cell phone and show them the stops.

Nature Walk:

Items needed: None!  Just go on a walk or a hike.  Optional items may include binoculars, a magnifying glass, camera (phone) and a fun adventure hat.

Concepts/Vocabulary: Multiple.  Expressively, you can work on vocabulary (nouns, verbs and adjectives) and describing.  Receptively you can play, “I spy” and describe things you see to your child and have them guess.  You can also make it “sound loaded.”  If your child is working on a particular sound, look for items that start with that sound and practice articulation.  For example, “sun, sand, starfish, sailboat, seaweed…”

Directions:  Go on a walk through the neighborhood, a park, beach or a trail.  Have your child describe what they see, hear, smell and feel.  You can make it a describing game or a guessing game.

Variations: Bring a magnifying glass and look at what you find close up!  Or, you could bring binoculars and see what you can find far away.  Make a collection, bring a container and collect objects or things in nature that you find.  If you don’t want to collect objects, have your child take pictures of objects he/she especially likes.  Keep the picture library for your child to describe and share with others.

Make a Snack:

Items needed: Ingredients and tools to make your favorite summer time snack.  Some ideas are homemade popsicles, sandwiches, cookies, ants on a log, or smoothies.

Concepts/Vocabulary: Planning and Organization, Sequencing, Math, Expressive and Receptive language.  Work on food vocabulary and early math skills with measuring.  Also, cooking together is a great activity to do with picky eaters.  It gives them more exposure to the ingredients and opportunities to explore new smells and textures. You can make it a task in following a recipe or you can make it a task in planning, where the child determines what they need and how they should make it.

Directions:  Have your child think of all of the necessary ingredients and utensils to make the snack.  Make a list of the ingredients and help the child gather them safely. Next, have the child describe in sequence how to make the snack.  You can also draw pictures or write the steps down to help the child make the snack when they are finished.  After you have the snack planned, follow the steps, make your snack and eat it!  Please make sure that the children are supervised while cooking to ensure safety. If a child can read, you can also make it an activity for following a recipe and reading comprehension.

Variations: If your child is not ready to plan how to make a snack, you can simplify the activity and just give the child step by step verbal directions.  If your child has significant sensory aversions, you can have the child be the boss and give you directions on what to do.  To work this activity in to your daily routine, your child can watch or help you make dinner and describe all of the steps.

Have a Picnic:

Items needed: Food (real or pretend), utensils, picnic basket, and some real or pretend buddies

Concepts/Vocabulary: Pragmatic language (social skills).  Practice offering foods, taking turns, having conversation and thinking about others.  Encourage your child to take the lead and make sure that everyone has their necessary utensils and have your child find out the picnic guests’ likes/dislikes. Make if a fun outdoor (or indoor) social dining experience.

Directions:  Pack a picnic basket with a variety of (real or pretend) snacks, and bring some (real or pretend) buddies and head out for a picnic.  You can do it outside or inside!  Encourage your child to take the lead and make sure that everyone has their necessary utensils. Have your child find out the picnic guests’ likes/dislikes. Make requests and practice simple conversation.  If you notice your child having difficulty asking questions, gently encourage them or make leading statements like, “I have a favorite food…” Make if a fun outdoor (or indoor) social dining experience.


Variations:  If it is a rainy day- do a picnic indoors.  If your child prefers, you could also make it a tea party.  If you are short for time, you can also practice social skills during a family meal time.  Model conversations and assist your child to participate and ask questions if they need help.

Face Painting:

Items needed: Face Paint (homemade or store bought)

Concepts/Vocabulary: Pretend play, expressive vocabulary

Directions:  Paint your child’s face, and if you are brave, allow them to paint yours J Have your child describe what colors they want on their face, or what animal or character they would like be.  After you are done painting, engage in pretend play!  Pretend to be animals in the jungle, or pretend to be superheroes.  You can pretend absolutely anything!  Pretend play is great for language and social development.  If it is difficult for your child at first, you can re-create scenes from their favorite shows or movies.  As the ability to pretend progresses, encourage novel scenarios, or expand on the familiar ones.

Variations:  You could add body paint; this is a great sensory activity for kids.  It’s also an opportunity to get messy, wait for a hot sunny day and have your hose ready.

I hope these ideas help get your creativity flowing!  Remember, you can make anything a speech and language activity.  While camps and extra activities are great, don’t forget that you are an awesome and valuable teacher for your child.  We would love to hear your ideas for speech and language activities, or help you think of some more.  You can share them on the MOSAIC Children’s Therapy Facebook page.  Have a wonderful and safe summer!

Nicole Case, MA, CCC-SLP is a pediatric speech therapist and the Executive Director of the MOSAIC Children’s Therapy Clinic in Seattle, WA.


From → Speech Therapy

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