Want to work on improving your child’s language skills this summer? Get ready to CHALK up your success to this activity! With the warm weather here, it’s time to have a talk about sidewalk chalk! A complex lesson plan isn’t needed to build language skills. As you will see, a simple $1 pack of chalk can go a long way!
As we’ve done before, we’ll provide some ideas for stimulating language with this activity, but we’ll be breaking up the post into two separate sections: Ideas for kiddos with emerging language skills, and ideas for expanding language and vocabulary. Scroll to the section that best applies to the skills you would like to target.
This is for kiddos not speaking consistently, or communicating using 1-2 word utterances.
Core Vocabulary: want, more, like, no, put, on, help
Describing words: (These will depend on the chalk colors or pictures you draw.) Some of ours were: big, small, pink, blue, purple, yellow, green, messy, neat, clean,
Nouns: chalk, any labels for pictures you draw (Some of ours were balloons, flowers.)
While using the chalk to make pictures, the idea is to comment on the events taking place. You could discuss the picture you make, your child’s drawings, or even any other things happening in the area. Combine the target words above to form 1-3 word utterances. These are easier to imitate than longer complex sentences. Here are some examples:
I want chalk
No more blue
Put on purple
More small flowers
I want more
I want help
This is for kiddos using sentences who need help responding to questions, building vocabulary, or using narratives.
1. Practice responding to questions. See the pictures we shared? Creating chalk art to add your body for photos, presents many languages opportunities. First, we searched Pinterest to select some pictures we wanted to try to recreate. You can search "Chalk art" or "Chalk pictures." While you’re selecting pictures, drawing, and taking photos, you can pose many types of questions. If your kiddo has difficulty responding, model some appropriate responses, or you can provide choices. Here are some examples:
What should we draw?
Who will take the picture?
Who will pose for the picture?
How should you position your body for the shot?
What do you like about this photo?
Where should we draw the picture?
Which one is your favorite?
What could we do differently?
How should I start the picture?
2. Practice telling a narrative. The best way to build story telling skills is to expose your kiddo to narratives frequently. Besides reading stories, you can explain what you are doing on a daily basis. Model the use of sequential words (i.e. first, next, then, last). This can be done with any picture you draw. Here’s our example:
I’m going to make the balloon picture. First, I’ll use the white chalk to make the balloon strings. Then, I’ll use green, yellow, purple, and blue chalk sticks to create different balloons. Next, you have to lay down. Position your body to make it look like you are floating. Then, I’ll take the picture!
3. Select specific vocabulary to teach and use a mural to introduce the words. Work together to create a large themed scene. Based on the type of mural you make, you can select a bunch of related vocabulary. Here are some theme suggestions:
Space: Planets, solar system, stars, constellations, astronauts, rocket ship
Ocean: sea weed, coral reef, octopus, shark, whale, school of fish, crustaceans (or crab if that word is too hard), sting ray,