Being stuck at home, while we know it is essential, can be difficult. Kids are bored missing activity and friends, adults have work to do other than entertaining kids etc. But there are things we can do to keep kids entertained, and to help accomplish necessary activities.
No matter the child’s age, we can work on language by doing everyday activities. Since I have been baking like a lunatic to deal with stay at home anxiety, let’s start with that. Where we are right now, I cannot get good bread. (I am not a packaged bread person.) So l looked up bread recipes and started baking. Baking and other cooking are great activities to do with children. We have to all have dinner so let’s make that an activity that kids participate in.
For children who can read, they can be assigned to read the recipe. Consider dividing the recipe in half or doubling it as a math activity. Talk about what you need to do. Have the kids get all the tools needed out by themselves (bowls, pans, spoons, mixer etc.). Take out ingredients. Discuss why we need all the different ingredients. Why do we need wet ingredients if we are baking? What does buttermilk do that regular milk does not do? Don’t know? Let’s look it up?
For young kids (and even older kids) expand the language. This is very moist. Should we cook this longer to make it dryer? What does this smell like? The color of this soup looks like turquoise or fucia or some other color but not blue, green, pink. For every descriptive word you use, try and think of something more complex to substitute. Use complex language sentences. Work higher than what you think your child understands. That’s how you expand language.
Do as much as you can do using listening alone. Give directions, questions, general conversation, using listening alone. Remember the auditory sandwich. Start always with listening. Maybe even a 2nd time of listening alone. Then add vision, and then repeat it using listening alone. Start with what you know a child can hear. Then make the language more complex and try it that way. Move on to increasing distance, and then adding noise. As you make the task more difficult (distance, and noise) you may made to make the task easier (less complex language). Just keep working on what needs to be done. Expand language as you go.
Not just questions
We want to provide a lot of language exposure. What’s that? And Where is… are not good ways to develop language. At least not alone. Discuss what’s happening. When reading a book talk about what is happening. Why do you think he did that? Do you think playing in the snow makes him happy? I wonder why? Books continue to be one of the best way to teach language. By discussing what is happening, why it is happening, and what people are feeling and thinking about is an amazing way to build language.
If you live somewhere where you can go outside
There are a lot of language opportunities outside. Talk about buds on trees, leaves, what we see etc. How can we protect ourselves. Why can’t we get close to other people. How come we can stay close to people in our family? All good discussion questions.
Talk, talk, talk
Just keep talking. The more time we are together, the more opportunities we have to expand language. Let’s just do it.
Remember to check technology to know that it is working.