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!