How to Incorporate Listening & Spoken Language (LSL) into Summer Activities
Updated Blog Originally Published on June 19, 2019
Summer Activities to Promote Listening and Spoken Language
You have worked hard and completed another school year. While some rest and relaxation is in order, when it comes to developing listening and spoken language (LSL) skills for your child with hearing loss, the work cannot stop.
Luckily, there are many activities you and your family can participate in during the summer that are fun and that build on the lessons and skills being taught at CCHAT during the school year.
Zoos, Museums and Parks
Language opportunities are plentiful at outdoor attractions like zoos, museums and parks. For children with hearing loss of all ages, these locations can be entertaining and educational. They also provide a wonderful opportunity to get out of the house and explore something new, and many times, they can be found close to your home.
Younger children can practice basic vocabulary or listen for animal sounds at the zoo. Children in primary grades can delve deeper into topics, discussing in-depth features of exhibits they see. Meanwhile, parks make for great places to hold scavenger hunts. Families can look for certain items, and children with hearing loss can then answer questions about what they find and describe it to their parents. Regardless of where you end up, be sure to communicate with your child to make sure he/she is engaged and practicing LSL skills.
Create Experience Books
Hopefully, your summer is full of fun adventures. Every time your family enjoys a memorable outing, consider making an experience book with your child to document the fun.
In this activity, you and your child can recount your experience. Together you can sequence photos, talk about different events that happened and even plan out a future adventure. Younger children with hearing loss will enjoy looking at the book and listening to you talk about the experience, while older ages can have more active participation in the creation of the book and telling of stories.
When the temperatures go up, keep things cool with some frozen activities.
For a fun sensory experience, you can freeze small animals, cars or other toys in a bowl of water. Present the block of ice to your child and discuss what happened, what might be inside and how to get the object out. Give clues as to what is frozen, and when you free the item, enjoy a fun play session.
For a tastier frozen idea, make popsicles with your child. Discuss the ingredients needed and what steps to take. The payoff – a delicious treat – will be enough to keep your child interested and engaged.
Gardening is the perfect summer activity for families to partake in together. Everyone, regardless of age, can enjoy hands-on fun by planting a small flower, plant or vegetable garden.
Gardening can easily become a strong language exercise. Ask your children what they want to grow. Ask them questions to elicit vocabulary – ex. What should we do first? What do you think will happen? Have them describe what they are seeing as the plants grow. In the case of a vegetable or fruit garden, you can continue the discussion in the kitchen as you prepare meals with the food you and your child produced.
Continue Summer Reading
Reading is critical throughout the year and that includes the summer months. For children with hearing loss, reading improves vocabulary, listening comprehension, concentration and knowledge.
To make this activity more fun, consider selecting themed books, like beach, ocean and camping, or choose books that pertain to activities your family is taking part in over the summer. Allow older children to pick a book that interests them and encourage them to read regularly or daily.
Walking or Hiking
Sometimes the easiest activity is to just open your front door and go for a walk. However, this basic exercise can be transformed into a LSL activity.
As you walk, have each person in your family count something, like stop signs, trees, cars or dogs. Play “I Spy” and take turns describing items you see on your walk while others try to guess. This activity strengthens vocabulary and listening comprehension for your child with hearing loss.
Switch up your route each day to expand your views and language possibilities. If available, find a nearby trail or park for a more adventurous hike with a new set of vocabulary and descriptive words at your disposal.
Every Activity is an Opportunity for LSL
According to The LEGO Foundation, the five characteristics of playful learning are activities that are meaningful, actively engaging, iterative (open-ended), joyful and socially interactive. As your child’s teacher during the summer months, your goal should be to create or find experiences that are fun and full of LSL opportunities.
No matter which activities you take part in this summer, any of them can be transformed into a LSL lesson by simply engaging your child with hearing loss. Talk through everything you do. Ask questions. With some of these tips, you and your family will be sure to have a summer that is both memorable and productive for your child with hearing loss.
Learn more about CCHAT’s Extended School Year Program by clicking here.