The past few years I’ve noticed people are creating “Fall Bucket Lists.” These usually include fun outings like apple picking, carving pumpkins, and going to a football game. These special seasonal activities can also be a wonderful time to work on some speech and language with your child!
1. Nature Walk and Painting: Take a walk outside and look at the beautiful changing leaves. Describe everything you see using vivid language (orange, red, yellow, autumn, harvest, chilly, rake, wheat, scarecrow, cool, crisp). When you go inside, take out the paint and have your child create what they saw outside! Address language concerns by having your child request specific colors and items while describing what they are painting.
2. Farmers Market: In the northeast and Midwest, most outdoor farmers markets wrap up in October or November. Take advantage of these last few farmers markets by bringing your child and working on some language. Encourage your child to greet the vendors. You can even ask your child to buy something for you. Rehearse the exchange beforehand so your child feels comfortable.
3. Fall Books: There are so many wonderful books that have autumn themes, and reading is a wonderful time to introduce your child to new vocabulary. There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves by Lucille Colandro, and We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt by Bruce Metzger both have rhythm and repetition that your child will enjoy. Fall Weather: Cooler Temperatures by Martha E.H. Rustad is about how people prepare for changing weather and why it gets cooler in autumn. The Tiny Yellow Leaf is about the last leaf left on a tree. It’s a wonderful story about fear of change, bravery, and courage.
4. Recipe: During summertime, spending time in the kitchen next to the hot oven can be dreadful! But fall is one of the most fun times to cook. Try making pumpkin muffins (Trader Joe’s has a mix) or homemade caramel apples if you’re feeling ambitious. Have your child talk through what they are doing as they cook. After, have your child sequence the steps they needed to make their creation.
5. Pumpkin Patch Scavenger Hunt: If you’re taking a trip to the pumpkin patch, this can be a great time to do a scavenger hunt. This is another opportunity to use descriptive language. Have your child look for things like a long pumpkin, hay bales, cornstalks, a white pumpkin, a long stem, and scarecrows. You could also have your child search for things by using an adjective. For example, find 5 red things (such as apples, red cars in the parking lot, etc) or 3 round things. Be creative! There’s a lot to see and talk about at a busy pumpkin patch.
Put on some flannel and try incorporating some speech and language into your fall family outings!