I have to say "hi" to all the families that I met at the Family Cafe in Orlando. Thank you so much for coming to our presentation and generating such good questions. What a wonderful experience!!!
It's not officially summer, but it seems that the whole US is having summer weather. There are so many things that we families can do to stimulate language during the summer months.
I know that you are all spending more time outside. I hope that you are getting your child into a swing ("push/go/more/all done/stop/high") and going down slides "up, down, 1,2,3 go,". Be sure to go down with your child if they aren't ready to do this independently. If your child is too young or frightened by swinging, you can sit on the swing and place your child facing you where your arms are around them and they feel supported and safe. Swinging is a great activity to stimulate language and the nervous system. If your child is bothered by the motion of swinging, try swinging them in a blanket that two adults hold "more/stop/go/all done/whee". This is a very fun activity.
Let's think about foods and drinks: Has anyone tried the frozen strawberry/lemonade at McDonald's? I found it to be very sour....it would be a fantastic way to stimulate your child's mouth. Or, just make lemonade from scratch....include all the siblings too. Make sure you buy extra lemons so that the children can taste them and make funny faces.
Making Popsicles from applesauce is yummy (use cinnamon applesauce to make it more tasty). Just pour some in a Dixie size cup and put a plastic spoon in the cup and freeze...yum. It's also a tricky way to get more fruit into your child's diet. Freeze the smoothie's that you are already making for your child to pull up through straws. Popsicles encourage sucking/licking and exploring a new temperature.
Grilling out brings a whole new flavor to food. And don't forget all the different rubs and BBQ sauces that are available. You can use those flavorings on vegetables and potatoes too.
I know that you are already outside playing in puddles and in the grass, but now we can probably bring out the kiddy pools, buckets, squirt guns and sprinklers. PLEASE ALWAYS BE WITH YOUR CHILD WHEN THERE IS WATER AROUND. A CHILD CAN DROWN IN JUST A SMALL AMOUNT OF WATER (LIKE ABOUT AN INCH)!!! Kiddy pools are fun for exploring water and putting in different toys to explore. And don't be shy, join them in the pool and play with them. Follow what they are doing, comment on what they are doing, feeling or thinking and watch the communication flow. If you have a child size plastic slide, you can put it so that the child lands in the water "splash!". Let your child play with the hose, let them help you wash the car...get wet "uh oh" and just have fun. And setting up a sprinkler for them to jump over, in, put their hands in, etc. is another really fun experience. And YES, they will put the hose in their mouths, or explore the sprinkler with their mouths and definitely explore the water in the pool. I would encourage you not to get mad or immediately say "no". My experience is that it's not going to hurt them... :)
And don't forget lakes, rivers, ponds and the ocean. Salt water is a true sensory experience :) Find crabs; fish...notice the smells "yuck!!, play in the waves; notice the different sounds; talk about the boats...there is so much happening in a natural environment.
Here's a book that I really liked: Disability is Natural by Kathie Snow (OK, have I listed this already ?!?!?!?) If you have a child that has a developmental delay you must read this book. It really gives you another side of things to think about.
Speaking of books, make sure that you are using your library to get books for your child to explore. They usually have a pretty good selection of board books and exploring paper pages books are fun, you just need to save those for times you will share with them so that they don't get ripped. Also, check what other things your library offers, there are usually children's programs; some lend toys; and there are always movies to rent. Picture snuggling together, watching a movie, maybe with some very flavorful snacks and just have fun being together after a day outside, playing in the water.
Have a wonderful June!!