Using Water as a Therapy Tool
Water is a great tool for learning in regards to most children. The younger set loves to play and splash, and older children can easily talk about learning to swim, or outdoor activities they’ve done at a lake, pool, or in the ocean. Keeping mental and speech skills sharp in the summer months can be a daunting task when the last thing children want to do is “more school,” but here are some tips for keeping things interesting and sneaking in some learning the fun way.
Try a Game with Wet “Paint”
This is great for a driveway or sidewalk. Using water to “paint” with, have children write out words to sound out. Can they read them before they start disappearing in the hot sun? For the younger set, have them copy the first letter of their name in capital and lowercase – then move through the alphabet. Make jumbles for children to unscramble before the letters are gone, and keep track of whoever correctly guesses the most.
Water Pistol Letter Play
Using some sidewalk chalk, draw a grid of letters. Have children use their water gun of choice to squirt the letters corresponding to a certain word or phrase. Up could be met with a prompt of, “Now jump up high!” Or down could go along with, “Touch your toes!” Using the grid pattern, children could also squirt a letter until it disappeared – either making its sound (for the younger set) or listing off words that begin with that letter until it washes away.
Show and Tell by the Water
This is useful if you have an ocean nearby, but if you don’t you can easily adapt it to the local park or your backyard; just change what you’re looking for. Have children gather shells with colors that begin with a certain letter of the alphabet, “Find all the shells that are pink like the letter P,” or have them collect seaweed, beach pebbles, or driftwood. Talk about what animals live in the ocean, and have children name as many ocean creatures as they can that begin with a certain letter. For the younger set, you can try to simply suggest, “S is for starfish. How many arms does a starfish have?” and other prompts. Focus on letter sounds that the children may have particular trouble with.
Overall, playing in, with, or around the water is a great way to get kids thinking during the summer. Odds are, they’ll be having so much fun they won’t even notice they’re learning new skills! What suggestions do you have for beating the heat while keeping up with therapeutic activities?