“Are there any fun fall activities that I can do with my child to help their language skills?``

There are so many wonderful activities to do with children during the fall that I’ve decided to organize this post based on my three favorite fall activities:

  • Fall Festivals: Living in and around Loudoun County we are fortunate to have several really awesome Fall Festivals going on at this time. Whether it’s pumpkin or apple picking, there are hundreds of language concepts to work on with these simple fall treats.
    1. Practice verbal descriptions with pumpkins or apples. Are the pumpkins big/small, skinny/fat, heavy/light, smooth/rough, clean/dirty? For older children, have them give you the opposite of an adjective.
    2. Sort the pumpkins or apples based on size, shape or color. Practice derivative forms such as “big, bigger, biggest” or “heavy, heavier, heaviest”.
    3. Hayrides are a great way to work on vocabulary. Label animals, vehicles or other farm related words while riding through the crisp fall air. Talk about the differences in seasons… how is fall different from summer?
  • Leaf Picking: I’m amazed to see the leaves already changing colors but they are. As the leaves start to fall to the ground, go on an adventure walk with your little ones to collect as many leaves as you can.
    1. Review the colors of the leaves first and then sort them into baskets based on their color. Talk about their sizes and then sort the leaves by size.
    2. Any items that are different colors are excellent to use when practicing patterns. Patterns allow children to predict what will come next and teach them how to solve problems. Start with simple patterns using the colors of the leaves (e.g., red, yellow, red, yellow, red, _____ What comes next?) As they master this, try higher-level patterns (e.g., red, orange, orange, red, orange, orange, red, orange, _____).
    3. Draw a tree trunk with branches on it and have the child paste leaves on different places in the picture. Give them directions with locational concepts such as, “Put the red leaf at the top/bottom of the tree”, “right/left side of the tree”, “under/above the yellow leaf”.
  • Halloween: Halloween is a holiday that is filled with many new vocabulary words, especially for younger children. Although you may be tempted to walk past the Halloween themed books, purchase just one with many pictures to improve your child’s vocabulary.
    1. With your new Halloween book, label the various pictures or costumes in the book and then see if you can find children dressed up as those costumes on Halloween night.
    2. Carving a pumpkin into a jack-o-lantern is the perfect activity for sequencing. First discuss all of the materials you need for the activity. Review all of the steps prior to starting your jack-o-lantern. Have your child tell you what to do for each step using specific vocabulary. If your child uses abstract words such as “this/that/there”, ask them silly questions so they will be more specific. For example if your child says, “Put these over there”. You say, “Put the seeds on my head?” This will make them laugh while also allowing them the opportunity to use more specific vocabulary (e.g., “No mommy, put the seeds in the bowl!”) Once you are finished, have your child “teach” someone else the steps involved in making their special jack-o-lantern.
    3. Candy, candy, candy… another super opportunity to work on sorting, patterns and descriptions!

I hope these tips help guide you in enhancing your child’s language skills this fall! Enjoy this activity-filled season and enjoy your child… these memories will last a lifetime.