One of the things I love the most about speech and language therapy is that carryover can be done in any setting and the beach is practically perfect. No desks, tables, pencils or pens are needed to work on speech and language skills. In fact, a bucket, towel, shovel, sand and some beach toys will provide endless amounts of language enhancement. Here are 10 activities that can be done with children while on vacation at the beach. These fun and educational activities are great for both children with speech and language delays and without.
- Location words can oftentimes be tricky. Hide beach toys in the sand for your child to find. Put items under a towel, between a shovel and a rake, on top of a bucket, next to a seashell. Once your child finds the hidden object, make sure they tell you exactly where they find it. Children with language impairments will use vague words like, “It was over there; It’s right here”. Ask them silly questions so that they will clarify using those target location words (e.g., “Over where, on the alligator?”… “No Mama, next to the seashell!”)
- “I SPY” is great way to improve expressive language skills and there are many different things to “spy” at the beach. Use a paper towel roll as a telescope and take turns describing things you see. For example, “I spy something that’s round with different colors.”
- Sequencing steps to an activity targets both receptive and expressive language skills. Have your child tell you the steps to making a sand castle. Encourage them to use words such as “first/then/next/last” to keep their thoughts organized and cohesive. Ask them questions using words like before/after (e.g., “What should I do before I pour water in the bucket?”)
- Take turns listing adjectives to describe summer or describe the beach. How many words can you come up with?
- Collect seashells from the beach and compare them. How are they the same? How are they different? Talk about their colors, size, shape and texture.
- Bring flashlights to the beach at night and go hunting for ghost crabs. Talk about how the crabs move; their size; where you find them; what they are doing. Are they fast or slow, big or little? How many did you find? Count them as you go along… you’ll be surprised how many you’ll see!
- Watch other children at the beach and talk about what each one is doing? This is great practice for learning pronouns and verb tenses. For example, SHE/HE is splashing in the waves. THEY RODE boogie boards.
- If your child has articulation difficulties, bring cards or laminated pictures with target sounds to the beach. Hide the cards in the sand and practice saying the words in isolation and then again in a short sentence.
- Go on a scavenger hunt on the beach and see how many beach items you can find with your child’s target sound (e.g., /k/ – crab, kite, bucket, rake, deck, coast, cup, camera).
Flashlight Hide and Seek – for children with articulation delays, tape flashcards with their target sounds around your beach house, condo or hotel room. Turn off the lights, give your child the flashlight and have them find all of the words and then practice them with you.