Fresh flowers…vegetables…fruits… and live music can turn a weekly chore into a memorable summer experience. Farmers’ markets provide a great alternative to grocery shopping in the summer and early fall. Going to a farmers’ market can be an opportunity to involve the whole family. Farmers’ markets typically are less crowded and smaller than a grocery store, plus most markets are outside. Many vendors offer samples, so you can encourage your child to try a new food or be open to a new experience. Outdoor markets naturally create opportunities to practice a variety of language skills. Below are some suggestions for a day at the market and websites for local farmers’ markets.
- Before going to the farmers’ market, pick a recipe to make and create a list of the ingredients. It can be as simple as making a fruit salad. After the market, go home and make a fruit salad together. Then have your child re-tell the steps.
- Create a farmers’ market budget and set family rules (i.e. Everybody buys one item and the goal is to have money left over so we can do another special activity.).
- Create a farmers’ market scavenger hunt to find 5-6 items. (i.e. Find a green vegetable that is long. Find a vegetable that is round.).
- After going to the farmers’ market, sort the food into different groups.
- Let your child practice questions to buy things (i.e. Can I have_________? Do you have__________?).
Have you ever wanted to make your own ice cream? Build your own terrarium? Summer is a time to try new things. The Museum of Science and Industry is offering an eight week program called Summer Brain Games. By registering online, you will get weekly experiments exploring different summer themes related to science (i.e. light, gardens, rockets, etc.). Below is the link to learn more about Summer Brain Games.
Learning language is often a long and bumpy road for a child with language deficits because story narration, vocabulary, and grammar skills are all intertwined. A weakness in one area, such as vocabulary, may impact a child’s ability to narrate a story. As the school year ends, parents often wonder how they can help their child continue to practice learned skills or develop new skills. The summer creates many opportunities to continue to expand your child’s language skills. Using smartphones to capture memories can be a way to target many language skills. Camps, movies, vacations, barbecues, or other activities with friends or family make excellent opportunities to capture your child’s adventures with technology, but also expand his or her language skills. Video-taping, audio recording, or snapping pictures of an activity in the summer can promote language learning. You and your child can print photos and place the photos in a book. After you make a scrapbook, have your child tell a story or make a sentence for each picture. Later you can video tape your child narrating events at different points during the summer. Children with language deficits benefit from visuals to help generate ideas. As you plan activities, here are some things to keep in mind. First, keep activities short. Let your child know how long he or she will be working. Use a visual timer. Second, let your child be a part of the process by picking the content of material. Third, set goals with your child. Last, provide verbal praise often.