Have fun at the park with all five senses!
To start off our free things to do this summer series and to celebrate the glorious summer weather we’ve been having, we thought we’d kick it off with a trip to your local park. There are so many things to do and see in the park and it’s especially great to engage our language delayed friends. So, get ready to experience a language filled sensory experience at the park.
There are so many things to see while at the park. Start by looking at the trees. Look at the leaves, the bark, and the branches. Use this opportunity to teach your child all this vocabulary. Look to find a bird’s nest or squirrels playing. Next, move down to the trunk. See if there are any bugs crawling on it. Look at the ridges and notice the patters they make. On the ground, look to see if you can find where the roots go into the ground and where the grass meets the tree. Then, you can look at the grass. Talk about how the grass blades are thick or thin, if they’re bright green or turning brown, if they’re long or short. Look again for any bugs. You can also lay down on the grass and look up at the blue sky. Notice cloud shapes and birds flying. Make a list of all the things you see!
While you’re laying in the grass, touch and feel what it is like. Is it smooth or prickly? You can also feel the bark of the tree and talk about how it’s rough. Take off your shoes and feel how soft the grass is and how hot the sand may be. Find different plants, rocks, flowers, etc. and feel them. Touch them and talk about what you are feeling. You could make a chart of all the different textures you feel and see which ground has the most objects.
Paying attention to what we are hearing is a good exercise in being patient and waiting. We can’t hear the birds sing if we’re being loud. Although, that’s also something we can hear. Listen for children playing, people talking, animals moving around, dogs barking. Listen for leaves blowing in the wind, insects buzzing. Maybe you can hear a car driving by or someone using their lawn mower. Kids are great at hearing something and saying, “What’s that?” This time answer them. Tell them all the things you can hear. Make a list of all the things you hear and compare it with the list of things you saw. Maybe one thing will be on both lists.
While there are many plants that are edible we don’t recommend trying them in the park (save that for when you get home to your garden). What you can do it bring a picnic and try different food while you are there. Talk about how the chips are salty, but the strawberries are sweet. You could even bring sandwiches to make there and help your child go through the steps of making the sandwich, so they can learn to sequence and put things in order.
There are many things to smell. If you have brought a picnic you can smell the food you brought. You can also smell the plants and trees and talk about what you are smelling. There are some pine trees that smell like vanilla and some that smell like strawberry. You may even see something an animal left behind and talk about how it’s stinky and yucky.
We hope that this has given you some ideas on how to engage your child and include a lot of language into your visit to the park. You can spend hours doing these things and talking about all the things you can find using your 5 senses. Now go get your shoes on and gather up your picnic supplies and we’ll see you at the park!