Language-Rich Summer Activities for Kids

Written by: Tara Gray, M.A., CCC-SLP

Speech-Language Pathologist

What does language-rich mean? 

Our world is full of things to experience and talk about. Language-rich activities provide opportunities to use language and encourage interaction and turn-taking with your child. Participating in these activities with your child benefits their receptive language (what they understand) and expressive language (what they can communicate) skills. These activities mirror things we do everyday in speech and language sessions here at Small Talk and will help to continue building skills at home. Take some time this summer to have fun with your child while also encouraging language development!

“Language-rich activities provide opportunities to use language and encourage interaction and turn-taking with your child.”

Go to the park

Talk about activities you can do (play on the playground, go for a walk, look for animals, etc.) when you get there. Offer choices to your child. Talk about the things you see and do. Work on “Ready, set…” and have your child tell you “go!” on the slide, swings, or racing each other.

Play with bubbles

Take turns with one container of bubbles and work on everyone saying “my turn” appropriately. Work on blowing bubbles, it is a tricky skill and takes practice! When you spill any bubbles (it’s almost inevitable when playing with bubbles) say, “uh oh!” And when they pop take turns saying “pop!”

Take a walk around the neighborhood

Talk about the things you see. You can play “I Spy” on the walk. Work on “my turn” and “your turn.” Talk about how to get home or to a friend’s house. Have your child try to give you directions to get home.

Complete a scavenger hunt

Create a list of things to find outside and take a selfie of you and your child with each item. Talk about where you might find each item. Examples of items include: a flower, chalk drawings, a car, a tree, an ant, a swing, something yellow, etc. Take turns naming the items as you find them. Ask about the functions of the things you find: What do we do with a flower? A car? A swing? You could use our common object cards as the items to find on the scavenger hunt. Find and print the common object cards here.

Go to the zoo, farm, or animal sanctuary

Talk about what you might see at the zoo/farm/animal sanctuary while in the car on the way there. Talk about your favorite animals. Model animal sounds when you see each animal. Discuss how the animal looks and sounds. Get a map and help your child navigate to their favorite animal.

Make s’mores or another outdoor treat

Give your child directions to collect the ingredients needed. Find a recipe and tell your child the steps. Help them complete the steps. Model language throughout. How does the food look, feel, sound, smell, taste?

Draw with chalk

Discuss what you each want to draw. Trace each other, draw flowers, draw your family, etc. Keep the container of chalk and prompt your child to request the colors they want. Model language throughout (e.g., “I need purple chalk next,” “I want to draw a blue house,” etc.).