Fun and Enriching Spring Outings for Kids around Chicago

Now that the weather has warmed up, you and your children may be eager to get outside and enjoy what the city has to offer. During these outings, you can encourage carry-over of your child’s specific speech and language goals (e.g., expanding vocabulary, formulating sentences, describing interesting objects, retelling events, answering questions, practicing words with certain speech sounds) while having fun with the family!

  • For an outing just beyond your front door, take a nature walk with your child and discuss what you see. Take notice of plants growing, bugs crawling, birds chirping, and animal tracks.
  • It’s always fun and free to visit Lincoln Park Zoo. Go on Wednesdays and Fridays for free sing-alongs with Mr. Singer.
  • Take advantage of free museum days for Illinois residents. Check out Sue the T. Rex at the Field Museum, the mirror maze at MSI or the underwater critters at Shedd for free!
  • Visit Old Town School of Folk Music on Saturdays to take part in group singing and instrument-playing. You don’t need to be enrolled in a class to join the fun!
  • Kids can learn about animals and pretend to be a variety of forest creatures at Animal Secrets at Kohl Children’s Museum.
  •  Troll Hunt opens May 1st at Morton Arboretum. Families can watch the giant wood trolls being built for two weeks on the arboretum grounds before they’re finished on June 22.

    On May 12, a 7,500-square-foot Model Railroad Garden opens at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

These are just some of the ideas, compiled from https://www.mommynearest.com/edition/chicago/article/50-free-things-to-do-with-kids-in-chicago.

Facilitating Communication with your Toddler

 

Research completed by Anna V. Sosa, has shown that toddlers attempt communication more often and hear more words from their parents when playing with non-electronic toys versus electronic toys. Toys that do the talking for toddlers or parents don’t allow as many opportunities for spontaneous language and interaction. Use of these electronic toys should be limited and more opportunities to play with non-electronic toys with parents should be encouraged. Some examples of non-electronic toys to consider are puzzles, books, blocks, dolls, and race car tracks. When playing with your toddler, use simple sentences (car go fast), ask questions (what is it?), narrate what you and your child are doing (open door), give directions (give me blue), and use repetitive language your toddler can begin to imitate (ready, set, go). Playing with these types of toys will increase the opportunities your toddler has to learn language all while playing with you!

Basic, Non-Electronic Toys May Be Better for Parent-Toddler Communication. The ASHA Leader, March 2016, Vol. 21, 12. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB3.21032016.12. https://leader.pubs.asha.org/article.aspx?articleid=2498630