By now your students are halfway through the summer, enjoying their freedom with pool parties, popsicles, and sunshine. With less than a month left before school begins again, it’s important to continue providing natural learning opportunities to incorporate language skills and growth. July 4th is, in my opinion, one of the best national holidays and just so happens to be a great day to focus on a variety of language skills. Traditional Fourth of July activities includes a ton of interactive activities such as BBQ parties, fireworks, parades, and picnics. Below are some ideas to incorporate articulation, receptive, and expressive language skills for a variety of age groups:
Preschool: This age is a perfect time to target language skills using your environment and craft activities. Have children try hand-painting to create fireworks, or create an American flag using paper strips, while targeting language skills, such as following directions, answering comprehension questions, building vocabulary, describing activities, and increasing sentence length. If taking your child to a parade, target vocabulary by identifying things within a certain category, such as color (i.e., red, white, and blue) or different shapes. Or have your child even participate in the parade to show off their Fourth of July crafts and activities!
School Age: If a BBQ party is on your agenda for the Fourth of July, then this is a great opportunity to have them help with cooking, decorations, and overall planning. Students this age can help create a menu and accompanying grocery list, as well as helping in the kitchen. Language skills with these activities include following written and verbal directions, categorizing items, describing, building vocabulary, etc. They can also help with invitations or with creating a list of relatives and friends to invite. Once the party has started, have the kids stand at the door greeting guests and engaging in general social conversational exchanges to incorporate pragmatic language skills. Older students can also write and star in their own play discussing the history and importance of July 4th. Or have them interpret the meaning of the lyrics to “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
With so many fun activities going on during this national holiday, it would be difficult to not take advantage of this chance to incorporate so many fun language learning opportunities. And as always, remember to enjoy a popsicle or homemade ice cream with your kid while you enjoy this holiday and the last month of summer!