The summer means time outside and often going on a picnic. If the weather permits, pack up your speech-language sessions and head outside for a picnic. A small change in the environment can make typical tasks more exciting.
Before having your picnic, use a little time to brainstorm with the kids. Ask them to come up with where they want to sit for the special time. Ask them what they think you must have when going on a picnic. Think about what to pack in, where to sit, foods they like, and things you could do on your mini picnic. Let everyone make a picture to show what their dream picnic would look like. When they are finished, take turns sharing these pictures and explaining what they are and why they mean something to each person. This activity will prepare the kids for what you will be doing shortly and also give them more practice with speaking to a group and building self confidence in their language skills.
If you plan on serving a snack outside, another great activity would be to make place mats for the children to use on the picnic. A great tutorial on weaving paper placemats that shows you everything you will need and how to make them is from Sewing School. To make it more fun, you can also bring in some glitter and stickers (maybe some ants) to make it more festive for a picnic. Once they are dry, they can be laminated for the picnic and then to take home or use for future sessions.
Packing and a Picnic Snack
Once you know where you can have your picnic, pack everything up into a basket to make it more of an adventure. If there are tables available, have a table cloth ready or a blanket if you must sit on the ground. Once you get to your spot, have the kids help you to take everything out and set up. Use their placemats for their items. Begin with your lesson and leave time for a special snack at the end.
For an interactive snack, make ants on a log. While traditionally this is made with celery, peanut butter, and raisins, you can switch this around. If there are no allergies, peanut butter is often a favorite, but cream cheese also works well. If you are not a fan of celery, possible alternatives for the log are pretzel sticks and bananas. Be sure to have paper plates for each child and plastic knives for them to be able to make their own. If you do not have time to make a snack, bring in some watermelon kabobs. Kids will love this and watermelon is always a picnic favorite.
Be sure to connect back to home. Before you begin, write a note home to families asking if they have picnic traditions or snacks that they enjoy. Share any of the different examples together to highlight how fun it is to celebrate our own unique backgrounds. Take photos at your picnic and print a few off to send back home to share with families.