Language development has always been of interest to me. It became that much more of a focus when my son was fifteen months and wasn’t really speaking. Today thanks to a lot of time spent reading, engaged in activities like those listed below, and his own capacity and curiosity, it is hard to find a moment where my little guy isn’t talking. For anyone in a similar situation to mine, looking for new opportunities to scaffold a more expansive vocabulary in their child, or who is just looking for affirmation on what they are already doing, Lindsay Drewes of KiddoKorner.com is an exceptional resource. A former fourth and fifth grade teacher who has her Master’s degree in education, Lindsay is an impassioned and informative reference for language and vocabulary development. Below are her 10 Outdoor Activities to Increase Toddler Vocabulary.
10 Outdoor Activities to Increase Toddler Vocabulary
It’s time to take advantage of the warm weather and have some fun doing vocabulary building outside!
1. Nature Hike
Take a nature hike and look for specific wildlife or just take it all in. In the early spring, we look for the first spring flowers and talk about what they are. Throughout spring and summer, we look for different types of birds and listen for their call. We might also be on the lookout for frogs, snakes and insects. It’s always fun too to talk about everything you see.
Okay, you might not be able to do serious snorkeling with a toddler, but you can still do it for a little bit. Try reading a book about snorkeling first like Ravyn Goes Snorkeling by Sandy Caye so your tot knows what to expect. Find a lake or beach and go discovering. He might not go deep enough or stay in long enough to see a lot but he will still be excited from the experience. It will also be helpful if you learn about the types of life in the lake or ocean you are exploring. That way he knows what he is looking for.
Take a walk and talk about the many things you can see, hear, taste, smell, and feel. This special time together will be relaxing and educational as your kiddo learns all about the world around her.
4. Bike Ride
Bike riding can be a great way for the whole family to do something together. The faster pace keeps tots alert and ready to learn. Talk about what you see on the way. My son is a nonstop chatter box on bike rides.
Plan and plant a garden together with your tot. The planning stage will teach her tons about using everyday literacy. Read books about gardens or flip through a seed catalogue together making a list of what you would like to grow. Take her along to buy the seeds or plants. When it’s time to get dirty, she will love to get involved. I give my son his beach toys and he has a blast while I’m working. He learns about the plants and their needs plus the many bugs that live in the soil.
6. Beach play
The beach is a wonderful sensory experience for toddlers. Discuss what you see, hear, smell, taste, and touch while playing in the sand together. Be on the lookout for tide pools and the many treasures they contain. We like to end our day with a walk along the beach after the tide goes out. Many times, we see sand dollars, horseshoe crabs, or starfish we otherwise would have missed during the day.
7. Sandbox Time
A little sandbox play in the backyard can be a great way to add sensory play to any day. Try adding different “discoveries” from time to time to keep your tot interested. We have tried small dinosaur toys, shells, and safari animals. These extra surprises help to teach our tot about different types of animals and keep him digging for new treasures.
8. Water Play
What would summer be without great water play? You could set up a small pool, sprinkler, or slip and slide for hours of toddler fun. Sprinklers are a great way to teach prepositional words like under, over, through, and around. Make it a vocabulary game for your tot to make do those different directional terms with the sprinkler.
9. Color Walk
Focus on 1-3 colors for a color walk. Talk about the colors you are looking for before you leave.I put a piece of colored construction paper in a plastic baggie and label the baggie with the color. While we are on our walk, we look for examples of our colors. We collect the examples and use them for the next week to learn more about the colors. We might collect items such as pine needles, pine cones, flowers, grass, or bark. It just depends on what we are looking for and what we find.
10. Baseball Game
Baseball games are great activities to learn lots of new vocabulary words. We always read many books on baseball during the spring and summer (my husband also coaches baseball so that might be why). You can find familiar stories like The Berenstain Bears Go Out for the Team or historical stories like Brothers at Bat: The True Story of an Amazing All Brother Baseball Team by Audrey Vernick. Your tot will be excited about the game (or at least the snacks) and can learn many new words like field, base, home run, umpire, pitcher, catcher and so on.
Warm weather gives us many new opportunities to get out and explore our world. Any activity can be educational if we add intentional conversation to it. Our toddlers learn best at our side doing meaningful (and everyday) activities.
Interested in learning more about developing your child’s language and literacy skills? Click here to get the FREE guide: 5 Early Literacy Toys that will SKYROCKET Your Child’s Language Skills.
A former teacher, Lindsay Drewes is current stay-at home-mom and Momprenuer of www.KiddoKorner.com. Lindsay chose to utilize her extensive educational and teaching experience to found KiddoKorner.com. She followed her passion of mothering to research and offer the best educational, Eco-friendly and innovative products made for babies and toddlers.
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by KiddoKorner.com All opinions expressed are congruent with my own or are my own.