Whether you are worried about your child’s speech development or not, park activities are fun for nearly everyone. As a speech language pathologist with three sons in Orange County, I’m frequently looking for new places to explore. Our new office is located right around the corner to Sycamore Park, in Anaheim Hills. With a colorful playground far from the road, we were able to safely play and build language. Here are some language activities you can try to foster development for babies and young children:
- Joint attention opportunities. Attend to the what your child is interested in and point out new things. Talk about items of interest. At Sycamore park, we point to the sycamore trees, touch the leaves and listen for birds.
- At the swings, ask your child if he wants “Up”. Lift your child up and put him in. Then push him from the front, making eye contact and checking in that he is enjoying swinging. Stop the swing and ask if he wants “more”. Sign “more” or model “more” with your face in front of him. Then make the swing go “more”. Acknowledging his attempts is great.
- When playing on the slide, stop your child at the top with a gentle hand on their tummy. Then say, “Ready, set__GO!”. Pause before saying “GO!”. This gives your child a chance to fill in the blank. And if she’s anything like mine, she’ll want to go on the slide many times and can get lots of chances.
- Model exclamatory words, such as “wee” while helping your child down the slide and “whoa” while watching children spin on the equipment. “Uh-oh” and “oh-no” are other exclamations for those little bumps and trips.
- Target action words and prepositions. Narrate as your child “climb, climb, climb(s)” up the steps, “stomp, stomp, stomp(s)” over the bridge and race with “run” and “stop”.
May you enjoy getting your child(ren) moving and talking.