Fun and Educational Weekend Activities to Foster Language Growth in Children

November invites us to slow our pace at work and school, to spend more time with family and to revel in the last precious weeks of fall.

As the bustling excitement of Halloween settles and makes way for the quiet, cool days of November, I find myself looking forward to long weekends spent at home or in the countryside.


For parents of students with special needs, time off from school can usher in anxiety rather than relaxation. Parents may worry about how to structure their student’s time at home or harbor concern that their child will regress in the skills they’ve worked so hard to gain during the first leg of the school year. As providers, we play a critical role in supporting parents during these breaks by reminding them that students can benefit from time away from the responsibilities and structure of school. We can also offer easygoing and enriching activities to support language growth at home. 


When selecting materials for families, I aim for activities that appeal to a variety of age groups so multiple members of the family can get involved and share in the fun. I also love experiences that can accommodate multilingual families as it is important to be mindful of differences in culture. When in doubt, start a conversation with your students or their families about what they like to do in their free time. You may be inspired as you learn about new family traditions! 


If you are looking for resources to share with parents, here are a couple of my favorite activities to share with my fellow educators.   


Making a Pumpkin Pie  


Spark joy in cooking or baking and you might inspire a lifetime of collaborative learning for a student and their family. This visual recipe is a great place to start, adapted from the classic Libby’s pumpkin pie recipe. It allows bakers of all ages and reading levels to get involved in a beloved fall tradition. If possible, print in color and laminate this resource before sending it home so that it can last for years! 

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Bonus tip: As a supplement, this resource provides rich examples of verbs to model when baking with children. SLPs know that when a student is learning to use grammar and morphology, it is beneficial to be exposed to as many verb exemplars as possible. Busy clinicians and parents sometimes struggle to improvise and end up providing fewer unique verb examples than they’d like. Keeping this resource handy in the kitchen helps put evidence into practice. As always, a laminated resource is worth its weight in gold. Verb lists are excellent resources to provide families with a variety of activities in and out of the kitchen. 


Pumpkin Patch Scavenger Hunt 


This handy, low-tech visual provides core and fringe vocabulary to help families navigate and enjoy a fall day outdoors. It can be used at the pumpkin patch, on the farm, or even on a scenic hike.

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Bonus tip: When sending home low-tech visuals and AAC, consider different sizing options that encourage frequent use. For example, if you suspect a pocket-sized resource would be more convenient than a full-size page, explore your printer settings and get creative! 


These resources are only a starting point. When partnering with parents, it’s important to keep in mind that the most rewarding activities for their children’s progress will ultimately be the fun and memorable experiences they share with the ones they love. Here’s to the long weekend! 


Author: Teadora Taddeo, M.S., CCC-SLP 

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Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as professional advice. The content is based on the author's personal experiences, research, and opinions. It is always recommended to consult with a qualified professional or expert before making any decisions or taking action based on the information provided in this blog.

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