Ever have a day where you have ZERO ideas on how to entertain your kids?
Phew... I'm not alone.
Now, let me clarify, I don't believe it is my job as the parent to keep my kids entertained 100% of the time. Part of normal development is them playing make believe, problem solving (think puzzles), and being OK having down time.
But for those times when we need an activity, what is your go to? I have a few 'tried and true' activities in my mommy/SLP arsenal, as we all do. But what do we do when those are overused? We add pizzazz!
Today, I'm not going to reinvent the wheel. No sir. Rather, I wanted to share a few regular, simple, everyday activities you probably already are doing with your little ones. The catch? We are adding some extra language skills aka 'pizazz' to the punch!
1. Color. Yep. That's right? Not impressed? I know, but I said I wasn't going to reinvent the wheel. Coloring is a great activity for kids (and adults... ahhh so soothing). It works fine motor skills, pre-writing skills (think pencil holding), and more. Now, for the speech and language pizazz I mentioned:
Talk about colors, name items that are the color of the marker your child is using, look around the room and find something the same color as said marker, ask why they chose that color. Focus less on them labeling the color vs you simply sharing your own insights. For example: "I see you have a green marker. What else is green? Hmmmm, let me think... Oh, I know! Trees are green. Broccoli is green. Frogs are green." You get the point. If you make it look fun to 'think', then your child will surely join right in!
2. Take a walk. There ain't much we can do these days to keep our sanity (#quarantinelife), but getting some fresh air helps.
While walking around the block, point out what you see. See a flower? You can say: "I see a flower. It's purple. What else do we know about flowers? Well, they have petals. They bloom in Spring. They smell good. They can be all different colors..." This doesn't have to be a forced back and forth conversation. Rather, it could simply be you talking to 'yourself'. The bonus is that little ears are listening, learning vocabulary, learning descriptive language, learning features, and narrative skills. Wow! Who knew?
3. Making lunch. Um, come again? Making lunch is an activity? Absolutely! Have your little ones sit at the table while you prep the meal.
Show them how we can plan by narrating what you need and what you will do. For example: "We're having sandwiches for lunch. What do I need? I need bread, peanut butter, and jelly. First, I lay my bread down. Then I spread the peanut butter on. Next I add some jelly and voila!" *Disclaimer: Giggles may ensue the sillier you are with this but that's great! Giggles show engagement and we want ENGAGEMENT!
There you have it. 3 everyday, ordinary activities we can do with a little extra language pizazz to up our game. Let the fun (and giggles) commence!
"Let your heart be merry". Judges 19:6
Feel free to let me know your fun ideas in the comments!