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Friday, July 18, 2014

Do You Need Some More Summer Language Fun?

I have a few language games that I have always recommended to parents and teachers alike.  They’re great for car rides, waiting in doctors’ offices, waking up sleepy classrooms, or finishing off a therapy session.

1. Language - Listening to Descriptions - These are the basic “I-Spy” or “I’m thinking of” type of games.  
Use your environment - especially if it’s an interesting one - to take turns playing “I spy…”  The first person “up” describes something they see in the environment.  “I spy something that is small and round and brown and used to be somebody’s home, that they carried on their back.”

The person who guesses first gets to be the next one “up.”  This game can be as short or as long as you want to, and works on both understanding and formulating descriptions and definitions.

2. An alternative to this is “I’m thinking of…” where your imagination is the limit.  It doesn’t need to be something in the environment.  
So this is a little more difficult. There is no visual cue.  Nothing to look at as you’re trying to describe what it looks like and what it does and where it belongs.  Nothing to look for around you to see what matches the description you’re hearing.  

It does allow you to think of anything you can.  “I’m thinking of an animal that lives in the ocean and is very big and mostly gray and spouts water out of the top of it’s head.” (My apologies to the whales who are not gray.)  Being able to formulate accurate descriptions and definitions is very important in accessing the curriculum.  Being able to understand what is being described requires good listening skills, sequential memory and vocabulary knowledge.

3. If you’re working on building phonological skills, try this: Choose a category (this makes it a little more difficult, so you can make it more general if you want), then the first person says a word in that category.  The next person has to say a word that begins with the last sound of the word just used.  Zebra - Aardvark - Kangaroo - Octopus - Snake - Egret (I actually have one of these who keeps walking across my lawn - the lake is down the street and very dried up).

4. An alternative on an old favorite, which I used to play with my kids in the car.  As you’re driving you need to find each letter of the alphabet in order.  License plates were always a good source, as were highway signs and billboards. So, here is the modification:  as you’re driving you need to look for things or places that begin with each letter of the alphabet in alphabetical order.  You need to be careful with this one.  If it takes too long to find the next letter the kids get bored and give up.  You can make the order more random by assigning the letter/sounds one at a time.

That’s my last summer on the road language fun tip.  Next month is back to school time. (Shshshsh. You didn’t hear that. Not yet.)

Tell me what other language games you play on the road or out of the house.