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How to Help Your Kid’s Speech Development This Summer

mom and baby during summer

Summertime has officially started! Did you know that one of the best ways to encourage speech and language development is by immersing your child in productive language activities during playtime?

Speech-Language Pathologists Andrea and Elizabeth share some fantastic ideas for the development of your child’s vocabulary, language for listening and talking, speech sounds, social communication skills, and imagination to blossom during summer play.

Sand Play

Whether you are at the beach or in your backyard sandbox, you can create an imaginative play by going on a treasure hunt. Hide objects in the sand, and pretend to be explorers with your child!

Before playing in the sand, you can read a book like We’re Going on a Treasure Hunt by Kelly DiPucchio, to introduce the concept.

Make the book fun for your child by adding sound effects and actions! You can also encourage your older child to predict what is going to happen next, or have them create their version of the treasure hunt.

Since children learn new words through repetition, see how many times you can talk about these words during sand play: sand, shovel, pail, dig, pour, look, find, search, treasure and surprise.

Water Play

On a hot day, you can create your water play with a clear bin or a wading pool! See which toys will sink or float, race toy boats, catch some pretend to fish, or add bubbles to the water.

Stories like Baby Loves Summer by Karen Katz, or Click, Clack, Splish, Splash by Doreen Cronin will inspire even more fun in the water.

If you follow your child’s lead, you can encourage them to share more language with you. Fun words for water play are: wet, swim, splash, boat, fish, pour, sink, and float.

Outdoor Play

Create a scavenger hunt! You can draw pictures of objects that can be found in your neighbourhood or at the park. Grab a bag and head out for a fun-filled walk with your child.

Boost your child’s vocabulary by talking about the objects you see along your walk. How do the objects feel? What colours do you see? What noises do you hear? During outdoor play, you can talk about words and concepts like tree, leaf, flowers, bugs, and animals, going inside or outside, sunny or rainy weather, and actions like walking, marching, jumping, and crawling.

If you have any concerns about your child’s speech and language development, we are happy to chat with you!

Elizabeth Skirving, M.S., M.Ed., Reg. CASLPO and Andrea Jennings, M.Cl.Sc., Reg. CASLPO are Speech-Language Pathologists at Fern Speech and Language Services 

Andrea Jennings, M.Cl.Sc., Reg. CASLPO
Elizabeth Skirving, M.S., M.Ed., Reg. CASLPO
Speech-Language Pathologists
Fern Speech and Language Services


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