My guest blogger today is Mindi from over at Simply Stavish. We were in colorguard together in high school and spent many hot summer hours together on long bus rides and marching in parades! Now we’re all grown up with babes of our own, and Mindi is a Speech-Language Pathologist. Today her topic will help us cool off at the beach, while helping our children develop their expressive and receptive language skills (don’t worry, that sounds quite technical, but chances are you’re already doing some of this with your little ones!) And for those with older children, how about a beach scavenger hunt? I know I’m looking forward to using all these tips with Ethan and Olivia the next time we’re at the beach!
Growing up in Maine, I loved heading to the beach with my friends or family. When I finally got my license and a car it felt so exhilarating to drive down to Old Orchard Beach with my friends. Nothing says carefree like having the windows down, the radio blasting and laughing with my friends, who were squished in the backseat. Back then I dreamed of my future. A future filled with playing in the sand and splashing in the ice cold waves with my children.
Now years later, I have those children I always dreamt of but we live in the suburbs of Washington DC. The closest ocean is at least a 3 hour drive with no traffic and a 5 hour one with summer traffic.
Needless to say, we can’t just hop in the car and go on a whim, as I imagined. Heading to the beach with children is a bit like packing up a sports team for a lengthy road trip. It’s amazing how much stuff you need just to bring the little ones to the sun and sand. In the end though, it’s totally worth all the hassle.
This year we are planning at least 2 beach trips. I’m looking forward to watching the boys play together in the sand and water. Since they won’t have the experience of growing up around the beach, I want to teach them all I can about it while we are there. As they get older it will be fun to do projects about seashells, tidal pools and the tide charts. For now I’m keeping it simple by teaching them new words about the beach. What better way to do this then with a scavenger hunt. I found a great free beach scavenger hunt printable on Momtastic, because let’s face it I would rather blog than make my own.
Children of all ages will love finding items on a scavenger hunt. Older children can race each other to see who can find the items fastest. If you have younger children, you will have to help them locate the items. Help them look for one item at a time to avoid confusion. As you and your children set out on the scavenger hunt, there are many ways you can help grow their language skills.
Expressive Language (spoken):
1. Vocabulary: Teach your child description words while describing shells (rough, smooth, bumpy, big, little, slimy)
2. Combining Words/Sentences: Build upon your child’s language stage by modeling the next stage of language development. If your child is using single words and points out a boat say “Big boat.” If your child is using two word combinations expand the sentence by saying, “Look at boat.” or “Boat moving fast.”.
3. Naming Colors: Learn about colors while spotting all the different colored beach towels and umbrellas.
Receptive Language (understanding):
1. Direction Following: Let your child find the item you are looking for on their own. If they are having a hard time locating it give them hints, such as “You’re getting closer.” or “I see it over by the sand bucket.”. This will help your child develop direction following skills.
2. Spatial Concepts: Teach your child spatial concepts such as in, on, under, above, and below while describing where items are.
3. Categorization: After the scavenger hunt is over talk about things you saw on the hunt that stay on the beach and things that should go in the trash (it always breaks my heart to see the beach littered with trash).
Other fun activities:
1. Encourage your child to help with packing for the beach with this great visual checklist from Live, Speak, Love.
2. If you have older children check out this written beach scavenger hunt.
3. Do a photo beach scavenger hunt, where everyone posts their photos to Instagram under a tag determined by your family. When your beach trip is over make a scrapbook or hardcover book about your adventures.
Mindi is a working mom with two silly boys, Xander (age 3) and Noah (age 1). She spends her work days helping children with their speech, language, voice and swallowing disorders. The real fun for her happens when she is at home with her boys, chasing them around and pretending to be a super hero. She blogs about their silly antics at Simply Stavish. Her weekly feature Mommy Minute Monday, teaches parents how to grow their child’s speech, language and feeding development through everyday moments.
In addition to blogging, Mindi has a bit of a yarn addiction, which she feeds by wiping out the boring boy clothes syndrome one sweater at a time. She loves to decorate her house, including Xander’s superhero theme room and Noah’s owl nursery .
Blog: Simply Stavish
Email: [email protected]