Summer: talk about more than just the weather
Many Queensland families look forward to summer as a time to take a break, celebrate with family get-togethers and to slow things down. This change in the regular family activity is a great opportunity to build language and understanding for the very smallest members of your family. This can be as easy as talking with them about what you’re doing as you go about your day. “Let’s add cherries and watermelon to our shopping list.” Using words as you’re doing the activity and then talking about them are fantastic ways to help children build their vocabulary.
You can also talk about the heat, or thunderstorms and how the weather makes you feel. Chat about how we wear light clothes like shorts and t-shirts when it’s hot. Each country has its own words about weather like scorching, sweltering, muggy and heatwave. Explain any new words you use and repeat them in different contexts over the holidays.
When it’s time to cool off with a refreshing drink name the options available and point to them if they’re visible. Involve their senses to add to the experience. Ask “Can you feel the bubbles tickle your nose?” Discuss the flavours on offer and let children choose the one they want. Talk with them about their choice. "Why did you choose the strawberry milkshake?" Don’t rush them when they’re thinking of their answer.
If your town has holiday decorations, why not take a tour and view the lights at night? This is a great opportunity to use descriptive words like flashing, shimmering, and sparkling! Take time examining shop window displays and use some creative language to chat about the Christmas trees, tinsel, and other ornaments plus any presents wrapped with ribbons and bows. You could inspire your children to gift wrap or decorate their own boxes at home which is fun and also good for building their fine motor skills.
You could also point out the houses with a wreath on the door or talk about the decorations in the yard. Going out at night time can be a rare treat for very small children, and the experience of their local area in the dark with you could be very exciting!
Whatever you’re doing, summer is a time of new experiences and old family traditions. You can empower children to build memories by revisiting their recollections together. Share photographs of your day or encourage them to draw a picture of their favourite moment and get them to tell you about it. Each time children review, apply or remember information, there’s more chance they’re building emotional and lasting memories.
You can help children learn more unusual words than they hear in everyday conversations by reading them some picture books. Try some of these new titles for a great summer read:
- The Aussie Christmas Gum Tree by Jackie Hosking
- I'm ready for Christmas illustrated by Jedda Robaard
- Jetty jumping by Andrea Rowe
- Sing me the summer by Jane Godwin and Alison Lester
- Summer time by Antonia Pesenti
For more books about summer, visit your local public library. They may have some of the titles listed or recommend others.