Communication happens everywhere! If you follow my blog you’ll know that while I love using toys to help little ones learn to talk, I’m equally a fan of using NO toys and taking the strategies (modeling, sound play, offering choices, etc.) you use in play to whatever location or activity is interesting to your child.
Here are 10 ideas for playing OUTDOORS…
- Tap two sticks together: “tap, tap, tap”, take turns to practice imitation, play “guess that tune”
- Stack rocks into a tower or pile: “big, small, flat, bumpy, round”, “up, up, up” and “uh-oh!”
- Throw rocks into a creek: change your voice to reflect BIG splashes “BOOM” and little splashes “plop”
- Doodle in the dirt or gravel: grab a stick and make a long line then pick a sound “whee, sssss (snake), weeooooweeeooo (firetruck)”; practice shapes, letters, or “X” marks the spot for treasure hunting
- Treasure hunting: fill a bag or container with various nuts, rocks, sticks, petals, leaves, etc. Name what you find and try to find “more”.
- Line up rocks/sticks: make a “roadblock” or a “parade” of rocks – or just call it a line. Name each rock with a different word or syllable and say it as you touch the rock “ba, ma, da, ga” or “ba, be, bi, bo, bu”. Then throw them one by one into the creek using their syllable names: “bye bye da, bye bye ga”.
- Build a fairy house (or any tiny, imaginary figure house): collect the sticks then prop them up and count how many you need. Name your “fairy” and pretend to say “hi, bye, night night” to her/him.
- Throw sticks into the creek: watch them float away and narrate their journey – “ooo” on the smooth and peaceful stretches and “bump” or “bang” when it runs into a rock.
- Stepping stones: whether there are tree stumps or rocks in the water or logs across the pathway, sing a familiar song and step to the beat. Take the tune of Row, Row, Row your boat and sing “step, step, step on it; careful as you go; step, step, step on it; don’t step on your toe” – or some other award-winning-made-up-on-the-spot kind of song!
- Freeze game: If your little one prefers to run instead of take a stroll through the woods, and the word “stop” is not working so well – try “freeze” instead. When you yell “freeze” he needs to strike a pose or turn into ice or become his favorite superhero or whatever seems fun/meaningful. The freeze game has been a huge help recently with my own two runners – one freezes into superhero poses and the other freezes into princess poses. Then I have to guess who they are… endlessly going through my list of possible answers.