It's that wonderful time of year again! Colours are changing, everything is pumpkin-spiced, and we get to wear sweaters (unless you are in Timmins where the temperature was higher today than it had been during the summer)! Along with a new season, comes new vocabulary words and super fun fall themed activities.
**Before I get to the exciting fall activities, did you notice "fall" can have multiple meanings? Talk to your children about how some words can sound the same but mean different things (these are called homophones). For more examples of homophones click here.
With fall comes piles of leaves! Leaves supply FREE, endless entertainment. While playing in the leaves you can talk about the sounds of the leaves (crunching, rustling) and the colours of the leaves. You can practice using verbs like jump, roll, throw, hold, blow etc., or you can practice using the present progressive tense (-ing) - rolling, throwing, jumping, blowing, holding, etc.You can talk about the sizes of the leaves (big/small, humongous, tiny, etc.). You can also talk about different types of leaves and how you can tell the difference between a leaf that came from a birch tree versus a maple tree. You can do a scavenger hunt for different types of leaves. Or, if your child is older you can dig deep into the science of leaves and why they change colour, the parts of the leaves, etc.
Leaves provide an excellent opportunity to practice irregular plurals! (leaf -> leaves not leafs)
You can make a craft with leaves. Click here for 17 craft ideas. Crafts are a great way to incorporate following directions (e.g., "Put the leave on the top of the page." "First put glue on the paper then stick the leave on top."). Crafts provide opportunities to practice fine motor skills such as cutting, colouring, and folding. Have your child give you directions to make your craft and follow their steps as they say them (even if they are wrong). Once or twice, intentionally do something different than they instructed to see how they will repair the "communication breakdown."
2. BAKING - APPLE CRISP
Unless you are a speech pathologist, language is likely not the first thing you think about when you are baking.
Including your child in baking is a great way to teach them about the food they eat, build their independence, practice math skills, build fine motor skills, and of course speech and language skills!
You can find an apple crisp recipe here.
Have your child help with the planning. Let them pick the recipe (it doesn't have to be apple crisp). Have them make a list of all the ingredients they will need. For older kids, have them create a budget and search flyers for the best prices. Have them look for the ingredients at the grocery store. If they can't find one of the ingredients encourage them to ask someone in the store or look at the signs. Planning and problem solving are important executive functioning skills that can be practiced during everyday activities.
Baking is all about sequencing! Sequencing is more important in baking than in most other activities! Talk to your child about what they have to do FIRST, SECOND, THIRD... and LAST. Talk about what they have to do BEFORE and AFTER. If your child can read, have them read each ingredient and take them out before you start to bake. If they can't read you can read it to them, or if you have time you can make pictures for each ingredient and have them find the matching ingredients in the cupboards.
You can practice fractions using measuring cups or while slicing the finished product (e.g., "Dad wants half of the apple crisp, how much is left?" or "Everyone should have an equal sized piece. How many pieces should we cut? One slice would be 1/4 or 1/8?" ).
Talk about the flavours or smells of each of the ingredients as you put them in the bowl. (e.g., "This one is sweet, this one spells spicy").
Understanding categories is an important part of learning language. Talk about how an apple is a type of fruit. Ask your child if they can think of other types of fruit. If this is too easy for your child, talk about the different types of apples and have them name as many different types as they can.
Have your child set a timer once the apple crisp is in the oven. This gives you the perfect moment to talk about time. Talk about whether 10 minutes is longer or shorter than 15 minutes. You can also take this time to talk about temperature. What temperature is warmer or cooler? What would happen if you turned the temperature up? Would it take longer or shorter? Why don't we use the highest temperature? So many wonderful questions that are sure to get your child's gears spinning.
3. PUMPKIN SPICE PLAY DOH
Play doh is always a hit! So why not try something a little different! You can incorporate all the strategies listed in #2 and bake your own Pumpkin Spice Play Doh. Click here for a recipe.
You can use play doh to practice following directions (e.g., "Roll the dough." "Flatten the dough." "Pass me some." "Pass me all of it." "First roll it, then flatten it." "Make three balls and stack them on top of each other."). You can make these directions simple or complex depending on your child's developmental level.
Talk about how the play doh feels - squishy, hard/soft, sticky, messy, etc.
Talk about size (huge/tiny, big/small), shapes, and colours.
You can use play doh to include pretend play by making pretend characters or pretending to bake a cake. You will be amazed by the inventions your child will come up with once you unleash their creativity!
I hope you have a FUN FRIDAY and a FUN FALL!
If you have an idea of an activity and would like some suggestions of speech or language strategies please send me your idea at email@example.com.