Staycations that Lend to Learning
By Hearing First Team July 13, 2017
Staying close to home this summer? Why not plan a staycation? You can make the most out of listening and language right where you are! Read how you can turn your plan into a LSL learning opportunity and download some of our suggested staycation ideas for your family.
Summer brings a whole new world of language for our LSL learners. You don’t even need to travel to make the most out of summer learning because you have everything you need right at home! If you’re staying close to home this summer remember that your home and community offer endless opportunities to experience listening and language in both familiar and expanded ways. Planning, experiencing and reflecting on a staycation can be a fun and relaxing way to take advantage of everything your home and community has to offer.
Here are a few ideas to get you thinking about how to turn your summer staycation adventures into LSL learning experiences!
A Trip To The Zoo
The zoo is a great place to connect the animals in your child’s books with the experience of hearing, seeing and smelling them up close.
- Bring Books to Life: Read books about the zoo and animals your child hopes to see. Ask questions as you read “What do they eat?” or “Do they live in the water?”
- Build the Anticipation: Explore the zoo website together. Look at the zoo map, special events and activities. Think/ask questions aloud “I wonder what animals we might see at the zoo?”
- Plan Your Trip: How will you get there? What animals will you see first? On your adventure, create songs about animals you will see.
- Use Listening: At the zoo, close your eyes. Ask, “What do you hear?”
- Use New Descriptive Words: Discuss each animal using descriptors such as “The elephant is huge” or “The zebra has stripes”.
- Save Memorable Moments: Take photos, videos and audio recordings, save your tickets and any printed information to add to your experience book later.
- Make it Last: When you get home, support your child in sharing the adventure with other family members. Compile your experience book and practice storytelling and describing skills together.
Planting a Garden
Planning, planting and growing a garden can be a great way to keep the listening and language going all summer long. Your garden can be in a pot, a garden bed or occupy much of your yard.
- Make a Plan: Start by looking at a seed catalog with your child. Talk about what you will want to plant, exploring familiar and new vocabulary. Make a list of seeds you’ll need and supplies to pick up from the nursery or garden department. Go shopping for your supplies together and practice using auditory directions for picking out seeds.
- Use Concept Language: As you plant the seeds, talk about concepts of size, shape and color as well as what the seeds will become in the future.
- Practice Sequencing Steps: Give your child a job chart for watering and weeding the garden.
- Make an Experience Book: Photograph the whole process and keep track of growth so that you can add to your experience book over time.
- Use Descriptive Language: Harvesting your vegetables and flowers will offer a whole new world of language where you can use a variety of descriptive words.
- Reflect on the Process: As you look at your experience book, focus on before, during and after verbs and acoustically highlight differences.
A Picnic at a New Local Park, Trail or Lake
- Discuss Your Options Together: Think aloud, listing options for places to go. “We could go to the park with the playground or we could go to the lake and see the ducks.”
- Introduce New Vocabulary: Explore destination websites and focus on vocabulary. Many parks have photos and bigger cities have ‘virtual tours’ of the parks describing types of trees, fountains and features.
- Use Categories to Talk About What You’ll Pack: You might try saying “We’ll need extra clothing in case it rains” or asking “What food should we bring?”
- Make a Listening Activity: When you arrive at your destination, play ‘I Spy’ to describe and identify flowers, bugs, animals and more.
- Include Your Child in Decision Making: Try asking them questions like “What should we take a picture of?”
Looking for other staycation ideas for you and your family? Download our Staycation List for LSL Living handout. Whether you’re staying home or exploring your community, remember to mark this as time off and live fully in your adventure. Think of this as a way to explore the language around a new experience in a familiar place. Every new adventure allows you and your child the opportunity to experience listening and language in ways that will build a lifetime of memorable conversations!