Ahhh…the first crisp breeze, the tree transformation, the pumpkin spice everything...sounds a lot like the start of my favorite season of the year, Autumn! I’m from South Florida so I’ve experienced varying degrees of summer all year ‘round so the change in temperature and the sight of orange and red leaves adorning trees this season is a true treat for me.
I spend most of my weekdays with my little clients, so of course I’d think of incorporating fun Fall themed activities into our therapy sessions. I also enjoy giving parents ideas on what they can do to build language skills within their family’s daily routines.
The following are some fun ideas to incorporate into your autumn adventures!
Who wants to go to the Pumpkin Patch? Me!
A visit to the pumpkin patch is a fun family event. Besides finding a pumpkin to carve and taking plenty of pictures, this outing can help boost speech and language skills for your child.
Language building activity: Talk and describe the pumpkins that you see. Use descriptor words such as
big, small, tall, round, plump, orange, white, many, and heavy as you point them out and have your child touch and see what you are referring to. Compare the size of the pumpkin to your child. Which is bigger/smaller?
Who wants some more S’mores?
A campfire is not complete without some storytelling and s’more makin’ They are a sweet treat that your little ones can help prepare and it lends a lot to be talked about.
Language building activity: Talk about the steps of making a s’more. What do you need? What do you do first, next, last? Do you roast the marshmallow first? Talk about the transformation of the marshmallow from soft and fluffy to sticky and messy. Talk about the qualitative concepts of soft and hard. Which parts of the s’more are soft, which are hard? Vocabulary words to incorporate during this activity: roast, fire, stick, marshmallow, dessert, sticky, crunchy, warm, melt.
During the Fall, the leaves change and inevitably fall to the ground and a new chore is in order during this season. While raking leaves, have your child help make piles of leaves big and small.
Language building activities: Have your child make a pile of leaves and talk about how big the pile is Can he/she make a bigger pile? Who’s bigger your child or the pile of leaves? Can he/she make a medium pile? a small pile? Talk about how the leaves feel and sound. Use concepts like “apart” when the leaves are scattered around the yard and “together” when you rake the leaves into a pile.
Have your child pick a few leaves in a scavenger hunt-like game (e.g. a red leaf, a brown leaf, a small leaf, a broken leaf, a leaf with 2 colors, an acorn, etc.) and bring them in to the house to make an autumn tree craft (i.e. have your child place his or her forearm and hand flat on a sheet of paper, you trace around it, and now you have a tree trunk and tree branches! Have your child glue his collection from the Fall scavenger hunt onto the branches and display the unique artwork on the fridge!)
Its Football Season!
What’s Fall without football? Love it or hate it, you will probably see it on T.V., being played at the park, or people sporting jerseys of their favorite players. If you and your family do not watch or play football, you can skip this idea, if you love football, keep on reading!
Language building activities:
Talk about the days of the week and when football is on T.V (e.g. Monday, Thursday Sunday, etc.) You can introduce time concepts like: tomorrow, yesterday, soon, etc. when describing when a football game will be.
Print out a picture map of the United States and talk about where various teams are from. Think about the weather in the state. What would you wear if you went to watch a game in that state?
Talk about each team’s mascot and categorize them into animals, people, color, objects, etc. Compare and contrast them. What are similarities and differences between the 2 teams that are playing today?
I am personally an amateur pumpkin carver. I have seen some neat and elaborate ones! Most kids I know love participating in pumpkin carving and showing off their finished product! Incorporate these ideas into your next pumpkin carving experience with your child.
Language building activities
Use different verbs to describe what you’re doing while creating the perfect pumpkin including: carve, scoop, trace, slice, pinch, dump, grab
If making a typical jack-o-lantern with eyes, nose, brows, and mouth, talk about each body part and ask your child what each part does and its location (e.g. what do our eyes help us do? Where do the eyebrows go? Above or below the eyes? etc.)
Talk about the differences between the inside and the outside of the pumpkin. Use descriptors like smooth, hard, slimy, dry, wet, etc.
Have an awesome and safe Fall season with lots of pumpkin, hayrides, s'mores, and of course, lots of language.