With spring and more warm weather approaching, many families are seeking fun things to do outside while still following the parameters of social distancing. The park is a great location for families to visit. While at the park, there are plenty of opportunities to promote language development for younger children. Here are a few ideas for parents:
- Basic concept pairs: ask your child if they want to go on the ‘big’ slide or the ‘small’ slide; when on the swings, do they want to be pushed ‘fast’ or ‘slow?’ do they want to climb ‘up’ the slide or go ‘down?’
- For children who are beginning to use words: elicit ‘go’ when going down the slide or on the swings together by prompting them with a ‘ready, set’ followed by wait time that allows for them to participate; encourage elicitation or imitating ‘more’ if they’d like to do something again!
- Following directions: many children love obstacle courses; encourage language comprehension through following one-step (‘go down the pink slide’) or multi-step (‘first go down the slide, then go across the monkey bars) directions
- Encourage turn-taking: have your child go down the slide independently if possible, followed by you (or another sibling) taking a turn
- Model descriptive vocabulary: most park equipment has various textures — this is a great opportunity to model more descriptive adjectives such as ‘bumpy, smooth, rough, hard’
Most importantly, have fun and demonstrate excitement in what your little ones are doing at the park!