Summer is a great time for outdoor play with your little one. There are many fun things to do that help support sensory integration, language development and fine and gross motor skills. Of course, there’s also all that fresh air and sunshine, which is the best part! Here are five activities to enjoy in the summer sun.
- Water is great for sensory play. Bring out the water balloons, sprinklers, etc. Your child will love the textures. Sing a song as you play, describing what your child is doing. Try “Here we are playing in the water” song to the tune of “Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush.” Singing and talking while playing is terrific for early language development.
- Go for a walk in the backyard. Talk about what your little one sees and points to. Pick up flowers, leaves, stones and sticks. Let your child feel the items but be careful your child doesn’t put the items in his or her mouth. Children learn by observing and experiencing new things. Your descriptions of the items will help your child build language skills as well.
- Enjoy early science activities without the mess. Get out some ice cubes and watch them melt while asking your child what happened to them. Or place ice cream in a sealed plastic bag and have your child play with it until it melts. Remember to talk about what is happening and repeat the activities a few times. Repetition supports learning and recognition of new objects.
- Messy art fun is perfect in the summer. Using finger paints and paper, encourage your child to use his or her feet and hands to create a design. The best part is you can clean up with a hose while enjoying the water play. Let your child hose you off as well!
- Set up an outdoor obstacle course using big cardboard boxes, blankets draped over a chair and other objects. Include your child’s favorite stuffed animal or a ball or two. Your child can then explore going in, under and around the items. Give simple directions such as “Roll the ball into the box” or “Let’s have Teddy go through the hoop.” Your child will build language and listening skills as well as work on gross motor development.
Remember to capture the experiences in photos. Creating a memory book of what you did this summer can be a great rainy day activity. Add samples of art and collections to make it special. Reviewing the memory book supports a child’s reflection on what was learned.