I recently had my end of the year conference with my daughter’s preschool teacher. She started talking about preventing a “summer slide.” As a credentialed teacher and parent, I’m dedicated to fighting summer learning loss. However, rather than just maintaining, I also want my child to increase her vocabulary. Although my daughter likes school, I try to make vacation learning as interesting as possible. Here are some fun activities to increase your child’s vocabulary this summer.
Summer Vocabulary Word Wall
One of the suggestions my daughter’s teacher had was to put a word wall in her room. Then I thought, rather than just put up basic sight words, we could increase her vocabulary with summer words. Thus, I cut out a sun and wrote sun on it. Then, I asked my daughter to think of words to describe a sun. Hot came to mind. Then, we talked about synonyms for hot. I suggested scorching, burning and sizzling. You can also print out some pictures of unfamiliar ocean creatures (porpoise, abalone) to hang around your child’s room.
Vacation Photo Dictionary
If you are going on a vacation or even a staycation, take a camera with you! Snap pictures of dogs, buildings and trees. Later, you can try to find out the breed of the dog or the type of tree. Get your child a scrapbook and he or she can write a sentence about each event.
Go to the library or invest in some beach-themed books. You can read them at bedtime or at the beach. For young kids, try Beach Day by Karen Roosa. Teens might enjoy Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson (warning: this book is sad). As they read, it’s likely they will learn some new words.
Books on “Tape”
I have some Dr. Seuss books on CD. My daughter really enjoyed following along in the book. Books on “tape” are often read by actors who have a flair for narration. When I was teaching fourth grade, even kids that didn’t like to read would tune in for the books on tape. This is a good way to pass the time on a long car ride (maybe for vacation travel or a trip to the beach). Along the way, you can talk about new vocabulary that arises in the story. You can go to audiobooks.com for tons of different books.
My daughter has started saying ” vámonos ” (Let’s go) to her little brother. She has also learned “araña ” (spider). She acquired these spanish words from listening to “Dora the Explorer” in the car. Music is a great way to teach kids new words. It’s especially nice when they use the words in the correct context.
Improving your child’s vocabulary is a wonderful way to learn in the summer!
More from Melissa:
Fight Summer Learning Loss with These Educational Activities
Summer Reading: Get Your Kids Excited About Books During the Break
Create a Kid-Friendly Backyard for the Summer