If you're anything like me, you certainly miss the carefree freedom of being able to venture out and enjoy the physical company of friends and loved ones as we deal with the ramifications of Covid-19. And for families with kids, the adults are not the only ones who miss the fun of summer trips and getaways – children also feel the pain! But thanks to the amazing creativity of many, there are lots of virtual experiences that can be used to make up for the sorely missed summer family vacation.
One of my favorite ways to take a virtual family vacation is to visit some of our nation's most beautiful parks and wildlife preserves. These virtual trips provide beautiful things to look at, cool things to hear and a great opportunity to grow speech and language skills (as a speech pathologist, this is the best part for me!). Use the following tips and tricks to increase important language skills while on your next virtual trip!
· Encourage your child to describe what they see/hear:
Talk about colors, shapes, habitats, noises, body parts, similarities/differences --the list goes on!
2. Answering Simple Questions
· Ask simple questions (who, what, where) about what you see and hear. On a virtual trip to the zoo, for example, you may ask:
"Who takes care of the animals?" to spark a fun convo about zookeepers
"Where does this animal live?" to explore different animal habitats and teach fun new vocabulary
"What does this animal eat?" to have a silly conversation about what your child would or would not eat if they were a particular animal
3. Answering Complex Questions
· Encourage your child to build up his/her ability to understand and answer complex questions (when, why, how) as you explore. On a virtual trip to the farm, for example, you might ask:
"When do farmers milk cows?"
"Why is the farmer cutting the sheep's wool?"
"How do farmers get the chicken's eggs?"
4. Following Directions
· Encourage your child to build up his/her ability to understand spoken language by following simple directions on your virtual field trips. As you explore, use wording such as:
"Show me the..."
"Point to the..."
Dr. Tinita O. Kearney is a speech-language pathologist who hails from New York. She owns a speech therapy private practice and lives to empower families to be their child’s very best advocate and resource. Check out her newest children’s book at lolakoala.com and subscribe to get bi-weekly communication tips and tricks.