Summer Play Ideas for Language and Motor Development

  1. Baking cookies– This is a great task for working on both language and motor skills. Your child can practice language skills by following a recipe or one to two step directions that you give them. Motor skills will be targeted by kneading the dough, using cookie cutters, stirring, mixing, and picking up small pieces like sprinkles or chocolate morsels.
  2. Prop Boxes– Most kids love dressing up in adult clothes. Prop boxes are great tools for helping kids expand their pretending. Each box can have a theme such as picnic, grocery store, doctor’s office, or the circus. The boxes hold clothing and props that can be used for the specific scene. The child will use his/her imagination to make up stories or pretend play with the items in each box. Children can also use shirts and pants with buttons and/or zippers to work on fine motor skills and taking clothes odownloadn/off. Shoes can be added in order to work on putting them on/taking them off and tying shoe laces.
  3. PlayDough– Sensory play is beneficial for a child in the preschool years. Children learn by doing and molding with play-dough is something they cannot do wrong. It helps build confidence and self-esteem. They will use their imagination by molding different objects, animals, etc. Kneading, smashing, cutting, rolling
    into balls, and molding are all great ways to build fine motor skills too!
  4. Playing Outside– Preschoolers can learn a lot from being out in nature. They will learn about the weather, animals, flowers, trees, vehicles, seasonal changes, etc. Nature and the outdoors offer a wide variety of vocabulary. You can start from the basics such as “bug, tree, car, sun” and build on more specific vocabulary words such as “ant, bee, oak tree, bright sunshine, truck, van.” Nature also offers a variety of textures and terrains for kids to explore, in order to help with fine motor and gross motor skills. Walking in grass, on a gravel road, or in sand will be more challenging than walking on the sidewalk or in the street. Playing in the sand box or grass will offer a lot of sensory input with different textures.
  5. Sandbox– Playing in the sandbox is a great way to offer sensory input and a variety of textures to your preschooler. Have the child dig in the sand with his/her downloadhands in order to feel the grainy texture. Hide toys/objects in the sand for your child to find by digging in the sand. Work on motor skills by scooping with a shovel, driving toy cars or trucks on the sand, or modeling animals or objects in the sand.
  6. Playing with Paint– Painting is a great way to stimulate your child’s imagination. Some children like to explore different colors they can make by mixing paints together and others like to draw objects such as animals or flowers. Talking about what your child is drawing or creating will facilitate your child’s language and vocabulary skills. Fine motor skills will be targeted by having your child finger paint of holding a paint brush and making different strokes on the paper. Finger painting will also provide sensory stimulation for your child. Painting is also another activity that your child will feel successful at, as they can create their own designs to be proud of.
  7. Cardboard Boxes– Cardboard boxes can provide hours of entertainment! A large cardboard box can turn into a house, school building, doctor’s office, or post office. Your child’s imagination can run wild as he/she creates stories within their very own space. Practice drawing and writing on the cardboard box. Your child can practice the alphabet, writing numbers, and writing his/her name on the box.
  8. Playing with Blocks– Preschool children have always loved building with blocks. From building structures to stacking blocks to make a tall tower, this is another fun activity for stimulating your child’s imagination and working on fine motor skills.
  9. Telephone– Gather a bunch of your old telephones for your child to play with. Pretending to talk on the telephone is a great way to get kids talking, role playing, and using their imagination all at the same time. Role-play with your child by talking on the phone to each other or have your child use his/her imagination and “talk” on the phone to a person of their choice. This activity is great for building conversation skills and appropriate ways to communicate with others. Children can also “jot down” notes while communicating on the phone. This adds voimagescabulary, communication, dramatic play, pre-writing skills, number recognition, and fine motor skills all at once.
  10. I Spy– Take a large clear container and fill it with small objects from around the home. Show the items in the container to your child and say “I spy something (object) and you use it to (description).” When your child guesses the correct object, let him/her get the object out of the container. To make the activity harder, have your child give you 2-3 descriptions of an object while you try to guess. Include concepts such as colors, categories (animals, food, transportation) and number sense (I spy something with 8 legs).
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