With summer here, most people will find themselves spending some time at the beach. While taking children to the beach makes for some enjoyable family time, it presents its own unique set of challenges. Kiddos need to be occupied! If you don’t feel like spending the whole day in the ocean or letting your child bury you in a pit of sand up to your neck, we have an idea for you. Start a sea shell hunt! Simply walk around the beach collecting the shells you want to keep. This activity can occupy kiddos for a large amount of time and allows for practice of important language skills! The shells can be re-purposed later for crafts. (We will do a follow up post on this topic next week!)
As per usual, this post is broken up into two different sections based on language skills. Scroll to the section that best applies to your child.
Emergent Language Skills
This section applies to children who are not consistently verbalizing or doing so with 1-2 word utterances.
Core Words: I, you, it, want, more, no, do, get, all done, like, help, on, in, put, see, look
Nouns: beach, ocean, sand, sea shell, pail, shovel
The idea is to model phrases for your kiddo to imitate. Simply comment on the activity and create utterances ranging from 1-3 words by combining the core words and nouns listed above. Remember to reinforce your child’s attempts at communication or their imitation of utterances with praise for their efforts! Here are some examples of utterances to model:
I see shells
Put shells in
More in pail
No more shells
I see sand
You all done
Get more shells
I like beach
Expanding Language Skills
This section applies to children who are speaking in full sentences, but need to expand their vocabulary and narrative skills. So much higher level vocabulary can be introduced during a sea shell hunt!
Sure, you can dig around and see some shells, but you could also:
delve into the sand, sift through the sand, hunt, observe, notice, spot, detect, discover, find, recover
Before placing it in the bucket, stop and talk about each shell you find. It’s a great way to model the use of new describing words for your child. You may want to try some of these:
Rough, smooth, weathered, worn, bumpy, coarse, jagged, pointy, round, striped, shiny, shimmery, dull, chipped, cracked
What do you like to do with the shells you collect? Comment below! Visit our page again next week for a follow up post with ideas for how to use the sea shells you find on the hunt!
Parents and children alike can enjoy the fresh, festive snack we are making today! We used strawberries, blueberries, whipped cream, and graham crackers to make this fun treat. You could also use yogurt if you wanted to use this activity in the morning for breakfast. We began the activity by explaining that Fourth of July is a holiday we celebrate because it’s “America’s birthday.” Then we showed our kiddo a flag and told them we would be making an American flag out of fruit.
This activity could be modified in many ways. Older kiddos with more advanced language skills can benefit from a more informative explanation of the history behind Independence Day. Kiddos who have difficulty with fine motor skills may not be able to form a flag, even with a model. If this is the case, provide some assistance because it should be an enjoyable task and not a frustrating one! As we’ve done in the past, the post is split into two parts based on language levels. Simply scroll to the section that applies to your child’s skills!
Materials: whipped cream or yogurt, graham crackers, blueberries, strawberries
1. Spread either yogurt or whipped cream on top of the graham cracker.
2. Place a few blueberries in the upper left corner to form a square shape.
3. Arrange strawberries to form stripes.
4. Use this flag treat as a model so your child has a visual example.
Emerging Language Skills
This is for kiddos who do not consistently verbalize, or do so using 1-2 word utterances.
Core Words: I, you, it, want, more, no, do, all done, like, help, on, in, put, red, white, blue, see
Nouns: plate, spoon, whipped cream, cracker, strawberry, blueberry, flag
Simply create utterances ranging from 1-3 words by combining the core words and nouns listed above. Remember to reinforce your child’s attempts at communication, or their imitation of utterances, with praise for their efforts! Here are some examples of utterances to model:
I want whipped cream
I want more strawberries
Put more blueberries
Put on more
I want help
Help put on
Blueberries all done
I like strawberries
I see flag
Do more flags
Flag all done
Expanding Language Skills
This is for kiddos who communicate using complete sentences, but need to work on building vocabulary and/or developing narrative skills.
Vocabulary: While explaining the meaning of the holiday, you may choose to introduce some or all of the following words: independence, freedom, patriotic, celebrate. While creating your flag treat, you can introduce some higher level vocabulary too. Explain that you are using a graham cracker because it is rectangular, like a flag. Tell your child that they must place their strawberries on the cracker to create stripes. You can further explain that these are parallel lines which never intersect, or cross each other.
Narrative Skills: At the beginning of the task, describe how to create the flag treat while making your model. Here is an example:
"First we need to get a graham cracker. Then we must spread whipped cream on the cracker in a thin layer to cover the entire surface. Next, we arrange blueberries in the corner. Finally, we make stripes with our strawberries."
Later, ask your child if they could tell someone else how to make the flag treat to practice this skill. Provide cues if they forget steps in the process.
By cutting the strawberries and prepping the materials beforehand, this activity can also be done with a group of kiddos at a BBQ. What other festivities do you enjoy with your kiddos on this holiday? Comment below!