There are so many excuses to practise speech, language and communication skills when we’re outside. It’s a time to listen for all the varied sounds around us and talk about what we can see and hear. For me, going on a walk always inspires the best conversations.
With a few simple starting points (and no kit required!) you can build speech and language activities into your next walk together. Here’s some ideas to get you started:
Attention and listening
A listening walk is a great excuse to practise focused attention and descriptive language. We often think about doing this with very young children (‘Can you hear the birds?’ ‘Can you hear the wind..?’) but it’s a great exercise at any age. As children get older, we can explore descriptive language that painta the picture of what we hear and we can listen closely for the complex layers of sounds around us.
Pick up a stick and you have the beginnings of a rhythm game. We can play ‘stop and go’, take turns to make a sound or play ‘copy my rhythm’. Here’s some more ideas for listening games with sticks.
Exploring the things that you find out on your walk is a great excuse for conversation. When you talk about the difference between things you find, you create a great excuse to practice descriptive vocabulary and a variety of linguistic concepts (big/small, full/empty, many/few etc etc.)
Finally, I love the idea of swapping ‘second-hand stories’. Tell me about a tv show, or a book that you read! This is a great excuse to practice summarising information (an important and often tricky skill) and an opportunity to ask clarifying questions to highlight the key pieces of information (e.g. the who, what, where, when details).
Regardless of what you talk about out on your walk, being out in nature is always a great time to share and connect with those we care about. I hope you have fun together.
Here’s a demo of some simple word games that you can play when you’re out on a walk.