Skip to main content
Father and daughter eating ice cream

Speech & OT

Summertime speech: Practicing communication skills outside of the classroom and therapy

Happy Summer from Gateway’s Clinical Speech-Language Pathologists!  School’s out and vacations, camps, and more disrupt our summer schedule. Maybe you have to miss a few therapy sessions or want to keep up your child’s work while you’re on vacation. There are so many ways to keep working on your child’s speech and communication skills this summer. Take a few of these tips and tricks from Gateway’s  Speech-Language Pathologists and begin with these easy, functional activities for your kids. From taking a hike, reading, cooking together, and more, there are plenty of ways to incorporate speech therapy into your summer activities. Gateway’s Clinical SLPs are able to continue providing services to help students develop and maintain their speech and language skills.

Continuing Therapy Over the Summer

Summer can certainly be a busy time! Between vacations, camps, and day trips, it’s important to communicate any changes of schedule with your child’s therapist.  Both in-person and virtual speech therapy sessions allow for parent involvement, as caregivers can directly observe and participate in therapy. This involvement can increase parents’ understanding of specific skills and strategies, in order to promote communication goals outside of therapy. We encourage parents to observe and engage in speech sessions in order to build a collaborative relationship with their child’s therapist as well as to be able to carryover skills at home.

Practicing Communication Skills Outside of Therapy

There are many activities that families can incorporate into their summer routine to continue to target speech and language skills, while still having fun. Here are some activities your family can try:

  • TAKE A HIKE:  Walk around your backyard or neighborhood; explore a new city or a local park! Ask your child “WH” questions (who, what, when, where, why, how) to prompt them to describe what they see, what they hear, and how they feel. You can make predictions about what you may see next! To practice articulation, find items outside that start with a specific speech sound your child may be targeting.
  • GET ARTSY: Start by gathering art supplies that your child enjoys! Create a summer scene with your child (i.e. playing at the beach, swimming in the pool, running through the grass, etc). Ask your child to describe what is happening in their picture or encourage them to tell you a story about it! You can also give your child directions to use a specific color, draw certain items, or share materials with you, in order to practice their receptive language skills.
  • HIT THE BOOKS: The public library is a great place to not only develop speech and language skills, but also to promote socialization! Look for story time or reading groups at your local library.  Encourage your child to pick out books about their specific interests or recent experiences. Besides discussing stories and pictures, reading can be a perfect time to practice modeling and using slow rates of speech and exaggerated target speech sounds!
  • GET COOKING: The kitchen can be a great place to practice speech and language skills! Trying new recipes can help children build vocabulary as well as practice their following direction skills. When enjoying your meal, talk about flavors and colors to teach your child more descriptive language. Sitting around the table can even be a great time to practice social language skills such as staying on topic, taking turns, and asking questions.

We love helping parents develop fun and functional activities to promote their child’s communication development. You’re encouraged to talk to your child’s therapist about your summer plans to brainstorm even more enriching activities. Our clinical staff wishes you and your family a safe and happy summer.

By Brittany O’Neill, M.S. CCC-SLP & Sara F. Semesky, MS Ed, CCC-SLP, Speech-Language Pathologist

First published on July 1, 2021.