Spring, the season of growth and renewal, is an excellent time to foster your child’s speech and language development using these fun, season-themed activities.
The activities listed below can be completed with children of all ages. Each activity targets some or all of the following language skills: Sequencing a multi-step process, following verbal and/or written directions, describing sights, smells, and textures, and understanding and using novel vocabulary.
Spring Speech-Language Activities:
- Plant A Seed Without Dirt: As the weather gets warmer, all sorts of plants are starting to grow again. Let your child experience this process firsthand – without the mess – by planting a bean in a plastic baggie and watching it grow. This interesting project will help your child develop direction-following and sequencing skills, expand and encourage use of new vocabulary, and provide opportunities to describe their experience.
- Materials: Beans, zip lock bag, paper towel, water
- Directions: Dampen a paper towel, fold it, and place it in the zip lock bag. Place a dry bean on top of the damp paper towel and seal the bag. Tape each bag to a window or wall which gets sunlight. The seed should begin to germinate in three to five days.
- No-Bake Dirt Pie: Have fun fostering language skills such as vocabulary, sequencing, literacy, and describing by making some delicious Dirt Pie. Following a recipe (see http://familiestogetherinc.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/picrecipes.pdf for a free, printable visual recipe) and talking your way through the process will expose your child to a language-rich experience that will yield a tasty treat:
- Ingredients: Instant chocolate pudding, milk, oreos, gummy worms
- Directions: Mix instant pudding with milk, put it in a bowl or cup, cover pudding in Oreo crumbs, put gummy worms on top, eat and enjoy!
- Outdoor Scavenger Hunt: Expand your child’s receptive vocabulary, encourage literacy, and expose them to new describing words (adjectives) by sending them on an outdoor scavenger hunt!
- Materials: Pen, check-list of items, a safe place to walk around outdoors
- Directions: Write a list of items to find that includes describing words (e.g., something rough, something smooth, something fuzzy, etc). Give your child the check-list of items and head to the park or your own back yard to find them!
- Read Spring Poetry: The beauty of spring has inspired many poets. Have your child close his or her eyes, listen to a spring-themed poem, and visualize what the words describe. Together, draw pictures of what each of you imagined while listening to the poem.
- Materials: Poem(s), paper, markers
- Directions: Go to the web site http://www.apples4theteacher.com/ and print out a spring-themed poem for free. Enjoy reading with or to your child. Draw pictures of what you visualized while reading the poem!
- Scented Painting: With the changing of the seasons, flowers bloom and the scents of spring surround us. Make art inspired by this colorful and sweet-smelling change. Foster creativity and description skills by painting with different flavors of Cool Aid.
- Materials: 3-5 flavors of Cool Aid, paper, paintbrush
- Directions: Mix Cool Aid with water, paint with the different flavors, talk about what your child sees and smells during the process.
- Grass Heads: Your child will have a blast designing his or her own silly face, using a variety of materials, then watching green hair grow out of its head! Use this activity to practice following directions and describing sights, smells, and textures.
- Materials: Old pair of nylon legs, grass seed, soil, small plastic containers (e.g., jar), elastic bands, googly eyes/permanent marker, pipe cleaners, spray bottle
- Directions: Cut nylon at the knee then scoop in 1 TBSP grass seed. Scoop soil in on top of seeds and tie the opening of the nylon tight. Snip excess nylon, but leave about 3 inches dangling. Draw or sew on googlie eyes and decorate head with pipe cleaners. Place grass head on top of small container with the bottom 3 inches of nylon dangling into the container. Pour ½ inch of water in container every couple of days. Spray water gently over grass seeds twice daily. Watch the grass grow and have your child create new grass head hair styles!
- Kool Aid Play Dough: Have fun improving your child’s ability to sequence an activity and follow directions by making some spring-colored play dough:
- Materials: Visual recipe/directions (print for free at https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Kool-Aid-Play-Doh-Recipe-and-Comprehension-Sheet-715530), flour, salt, Kool Aid drink mix, tartar, water, oil
- Directions: Mix 1 cup flour, ½ cup salt, 1 envelope of Kool Aid Drink Mix, and 2 tsp. tartar. Stir in 1 cup water and 1 Tbsp. oil. Cook on medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Color Changing Carnation: Bring the bright colors of spring inside by watching a white carnation change color when food coloring is added to its water. Foster your child’s expressive language by encouraging your child to describe what they see before and after the carnation’s color changes.
- Materials: Food coloring, carnation, water, cup
- Directions: Pour water into the cup, add a few drops of food coloring, then place the white carnation in the water and watch it change color over the course of the day!
- Homemade Birdfeeder: As the weather warms, birds begin to nest. Get your child excited about seeing his or her feathered friends by making a birdfeeder. Once the birdfeeder has been hung outside, watch as birds start stopping by for tasty treats – creating plenty of opportunities to describe the appearance and actions of your new feathered friends!
- Materials: Peanut butter, pinecone, string, birdseed
- Directions: Cover the pinecone with peanut butter, then roll the pinecone in birdseed. Tie a string to the birdfeeder and then hang it outside near a window. Watch and wait as birds stop by for a tasty treat. Observe the birds with your child and take turns talking about what each of you see.
- Star Art: Choose a spring constellation and read the myth behind it. Then, recreate the constellation using marshmallows and toothpicks. When night falls, look up and match your child’s marshmallow and toothpick creation with the actual pattern of stars in the sky. Throughout the process, have fun practicing comprehension and description skills by talking about the myth and sharing what each of you see.
- Materials: Marshmallows, toothpicks, sky map (print for free at http://www.kidsastronomy.com/), constellation stories
- Directions: Read the story behind a constellation (e.g., Orion). Use the marshmallows as stars and toothpicks as connecting lines in the same pattern as your chosen constellation.
NSPT offers services in Bucktown, Evanston, Highland Park, Lincolnwood, Glenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!