Spring is here and as we welcome the longer days and warmer weather, there seems to be a new energy buzzing as we shake of the winter woollies and enjoy the sunshine on our faces. This month we will have a look at a few spring-themed activities to build your child’s language and communication.
Week 1: Notice the Changes
The warmer weather means more opportunities for getting out and about. Now is a great time to focus on teaching your child new words to describe the changes happening around them. It is super important to teach our children a wide range of describing words (adjectives and adverbs) as they need large, strong vocabularies before they start school. This week be conscious of moving a little more slowly to take the time to notice the changes in the weather, the parks and gardens you pass each day, the new seasonal food you see in the shops. Talk about what you can see, hear, smell, feel and taste. How many words can you use to describe the feeling on sunshine on your face or the taste of this season’s fruit? Try making up a new word that suits your family experience. My daughter used to refer to the ‘milo sky’, describing its unique colour. The word made perfect sense in her experience and has become a familiar word in our family. What will you help your child notice today?
Week 2: Spring Sorting
Whether or not you subscribe to the concept of ‘spring cleaning’, now is a great time to help your Little Person work on their sorting skills. Sorting, or categorisation, is a really important skill for developing a well-organised vocabulary. You can sort anything – clothes, food, toys, shed items, books, plants.. the list is endless! Talk about the features and details of objects (e.g. size, shape, colour, parts, what we use it for, where we keep it etc) and group similar objects together. Remember each item can belong to many different categories. Use specific words to refine categories. For example, ‘plants’ can be broken down into smaller groups such as succulents, ferns, trees, shrubs, flowers, indoor plants etc. Involve your Little Person in sorting out the wardrobe or putting the shopping away. Talk about why the items belong or don’t belong in certain groups. Have fun sorting with your Little Helper!
Week 3: Water Writing
With this beautiful spring weather, it’s a great time to spend some more time playing outside. Give your Little Person a container of water and a largish paintbrush and set them off to paint the house or the driveway. Using a paintbrush with gross motor movements can help your child progress to the smaller fine motor movements needed for writing. If your Little Painter is preparing for school, this is a great activity to work on letters and sounds and practice writing their name. Remember to always talk about the sounds the letters make. For example, ‘This is the letter bee, it makes a buh sound. If your preschooler needs help to write letters, grab another paintbrush and paint the letter for them. Before the water dries, get your child to paint over it. Have fun with this no-mess writing practice!
Week 4: Growing Words
I bet you can remember growing seeds in a jar as a child. Do you remember how you eagerly checked the plant’s progress each day? There is a beautiful sense of anticipation, waiting to see the results of your labour. This week why not grow something with your Little Gardener. It could be seeds in a pot, a vegetable from food scraps, a sprouting bean in a plastic cup with cotton wool, or a snippet of a succulent in a jar. Think about all the words you can use to talk about the preparation, planting and growing of your plant. Use adult-like words such as anticipate, predict, discover, germinate, flourish, hydrate to grow your child’s vocabulary. Have fun checking the plant each day. You may want to measure its growth and introduce some more specific words related to measurement. Older preschoolers are not too young to hear words such as photosynthesis. Exposure to this level of vocabulary will set them up for success at school. Have fun with your Little Gardener and don’t forget to look, listen, ask and describe to make the most of her language learning opportunities.