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Family Fun Creates Memories and Develops Speech and Language

By Maureen Penko

We are ready to shake off the winter, especially when it comes to hearing about the wind chill factor that determines clothing, and whether there is indoor or outdoor recess for our kids. We are ready for a milder temperature that lets us enjoy the outdoors with less layers.

Let talk about how at breaks a vacation, activities or spring and summer camp can create Memories and contribute to vocabulary growth and increasing a child's speech and language development.

Think of a time when you went on a holiday and everyday was a new experience for you and your child. Each day you went to see something new, maybe tried a new food and you talked about the experience with your children. You likely did a lot of explaining (vocabulary) and answered many questions (language development) asked of you. This individual attention made you aware of what you verbally shared with your child. You probably saw your child grow physically, emotionally and found them using vocabulary they experienced that day. Most of all it was fun. I recently heard an interview on CBC where the researcher commented about how every day we should have an injection of FUN.

We know that new experiences stimulate the brain and lays down the track for storing these experiences and making associations. This is a 3D experience and it is recalled from memory every time you talk about it. This experience when supplemented with photos will become a story retell. Experiences stimulate emotion related to the event and creates a kinesthetic experience (all of the senses will be involved). We can create the same effect in the activities we do with our child. So that brings us to Spring/Summer camps and activities which focuses on learning and fun with a group of children. This is where social skills development takes place with others who are also sharing the same experiences and can model language for each other. Children have a special way of exchanging information with their peers through play which stimulates conversation. Don't forget to create a memories book with your child of their spring/summer camp experience.

Should camp not be possible you can take your child to daily activities.

Try some of these activities:

  • A Petal stained glass picture for the window. Use a variety of coloured plastic. Promotes colours, a size vocabulary

  • Flower crowns and necklaces promotes colours and patterns

  • Potatoe shapes cut out. Then paint the shape and make a print, promotes colours and shapes

  • Painting the hands to make handprints, promotes size and numbers

  • Having a play time in the park with another family

  • With a washable marker create finger families. Finger play are a wonderful repetitive eye hand coordination activity that promotes rhyme, speech clarity and vocabulary

Try this one: Put your right and over your left-hand and wiggle your fingers as you sing

This little bird flaps it swings,
Flaps its wings, Flaps its wings,
This little bird flaps its wings
And flies away in the morning.

If you are thinking about a structured theme activity camp look at the Leisure Guide, or in this issue of Winnipeg Parent. All ages can go to some type of a camp. The library also has day camps and the dates of themes and activities are listed. This one caught my eye "Leap day celebrations": Jump, Hop, and Leap into motion for 5-8 year olds. Feb 29 Stories, craft, rhymes, games and songs. This one is loaded with lots of activities. Craft stores and greenhouses may also have a 1 hour activity focus.

With our busy life style try to incorporate some of these ideas that allow you to build your child's communication and social skills. Research has shown that our own talking and sharing ratio has been reduced by screen or texting time. Increase your quality time in some of these ways:

  • Sit down for a meal without distractions. Put the cell phone away.

  • Play games where all can be involved in games such Jenga, I spy, Headbandz.

  • Give your child a hug, snuggle up and talk about the day while having a snack.

  • Turn off the distractions in the car and have an occasional chat. Your young child is buckled up and can hear your voice. If you need to, due to busy traffic, turn on the music.

  • -Play interactive games such as "we are going on a bear hunt to find...."

Let me leave you thinking about the title of this article and keep a record of what your child gained from the "experience". After all, speech and language expands as physical and emotional development growth takes place. Don't forget to have an "injection of fun everyday."

Feature Articles:

2020 Spring Break Top Ten!

Looking for Spring Break Day Camp Programs?

Family Fun Creates Memories and Develops Speech and Language

Summer Camp Superguide 2020

Camp Visits - Making the Most of the Interview

Immunity-Boosting Tips for a Healthier Winter

Appropriate Media Exposure for Our Children

Safe and Sound

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