Summer activities for helping children’s communication
As the summer arrives and the time comes for our children to move on from nursery we are faced with a long list of tasks to make sure we get them ready for starting school in September. Have I sorted out their new school uniform…yes. Do they have new school shoes….yes. Have I helped them to practise how to hold a pencil the right way…yes. Have I helped them practise the communication and language skills they need to be ready to learn….hmmm, have I?
Sometimes, we can be so wrapped up in the practical tasks we might forget the importance of other things, like making sure our children have the best opportunities for holding conversations and learning. Why not have a think about some of the following areas to see if there are things that you and your child can do over the summer, having fun and at the same time supporting their language and communication skills:
A good vocabulary is really important for learning. Your child will remember new words more easily if you link them to something they already know. Playing ‘guess what’ is a great way of helping children develop their vocabulary of describing words. Choose some everyday objects and put them out in front of you. Take it in turns with your child to give each other clues about an object you are thinking about.
What’s the story?
Being able to tell stories is an essential skill that children need to develop as they grow older. We all tell each other stories about things that have happened at school or at work every day (“you’ll never guess what happened to me today….”). Our stories bring together lots of different communication skills, including using vocabulary and making sentences and it can be great fun to practise the skill of story-telling at home.
Why not make up a story around the dinner table, with each person adding an extra bit in turn. Remind your children that you need to include the important story words of who, when, where and what to make the story make sense. Who knows where you story will end up!
Or, you can play ‘story muddle’ – it’s often fun to mix up ideas from stories you know, for example what would happen if Red Riding Hood met Hansel and Gretel in the woods, or if the Gruffalo walked into Narnia!
There are loads of ideas for helping children develop their communication skills on the Talking Point website (www.talkingpoint.org.uk) and in I CAN’s books and resources (www.ican.org.uk/shop). Do you want more ideas and tips to help your child? Or are you worried that your child finds talking a bit tricky? You can talk to one of I CAN’s speech and language therapists for information and ideas by booking a phone call on. Call 020 7843 2544 to make an appointment.
With the long (and maybe hot!) summer holidays coming up, it’s the ideal time to turn everyday activities into communication activities; it’ll be a really fun way to give your child the best start possible at school!