Sensory play and exploration are fun options to integrate when working on speech and language goals. Many children will benefit from combining them together because it will satisfy their sensory needs so they are able to focus more. While we used to have water tables for classrooms, it is possible to make portable sensory bins for summer that bring surf, sun, and fun to kids of all ages. These may be brought outside, used in a smaller space, or incorporated into a classroom environment in a center.
Purchase a good sized clear container that is relatively shallow. Many retail locations will have these in sections for storage and organization. Fill this partially up with play sand to make your own mini beach. Check dollar stores, seasonal sections of retail stores, and party planning areas for summer decorating items that will pack a fun punch on your little beach front property. Look for seashells, gem stones, small water animals, palm trees, flip flops, sun glasses, and anything else that works with summer vocabulary. Have several small plastic shovels and sifters ready for a genuine beach experience. This will make digging in the sand even more fun for the kids.
Have cards made ahead of time with clues for your own mini beach treasure hunt. The clues should require some problem solving to make it a bit of a challenge This is the perfect opportunity to allow kids in speech to talk through their process of figuring out the clue. Clues that allow for practice with articulation, rhyming, vocabulary, are also great. As they read and repeat each clue, while searching in the sand, it will help them with the process. While they are digging in the sand, encourage kids to describe what they find that does not solve each clue. What makes them sure that it isn’t the item? It’s also fine to work in some non-beach items in the search if there is a sound pattern kids are working on.
To connect these lessons to home activities, make a sensory bag that can be used with families. You will need freezer bags, small objects to place inside, baby oil, water, food coloring, glitter, and packing tape that is strong. Playing House has easy to follow instructions to do this ahead of time. Make a laminated sheet of clues for them to follow and find items. Think ahead and include things that will help all of your multilingual families to be comfortable completing the clues together.
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