In case you are interested in some speech/language activities for your student over the summer, here is a great article from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association's Leader Live publication with some summer activity suggestions. Let's keep those language skills strong over the summer!
Many parents ask what they can do with their students to improve their executive functioning skills. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association recently published some great ideas in their Leader Live publication. Please see some of their suggestions below.
Ages 3 to 8
Skills supported: Focus and attention are the main goals for this activity, as well as regulating body movement.
Skills supported: Hidden-picture activities are a great way to keep kids entertained for at least several minutes. Many times you can find them in Highlights Magazine. These activities target focus as well as sustaining and shifting attention. Working memory and problem-solving might also be supported if the child has to keep track of a certain number of objects or keep track of the objects left to locate.
Narrating routines and plans
Skills supported: It’s never too early to model organization, planning and prioritizing. Narrating a routine or working through your day aloud helps children begin to grasp the concept that even daily activities get planned and prioritized.
Ages 7 to 12
Plan a barbecue or a party
How to do it: Brainstorm a list of all of the things you’ll need to execute a successful and fun time for family and friends. Since this task might seem daunting—especially for a child who finds struggles with planning—write each item of the list on a sticky note or strip of paper. Then organize tasks into categories based on when they should get done. The categories could include:
Skills supported: This activity targets attention skills, planning and organizing. Additionally, it can involve problem-solving if anything goes awry, such as the weather. Lastly, it helps promote metacognitive skills (“thinking about my thinking”) and self-reflection when considering the success of the barbecue.
Mazes and “Rush Hour”
You can print out mazes—in various levels of difficulty—from several online sources or find them in activity books. Rush Hour is an incredibly thought-provoking board game where a player has to get their car out of a traffic maze by moving the cars on the board.
Skills supported: These activities require higher-level thinking and problem-solving skills. They involve sustaining effort and persevering through challenges, focus, and working memory.
Card games (Uno, Rat-a-tat-Cat)
My new favorite game is Rat-a-tat-Cat. Each player gets four cards valued from 0 to 9 points. Two cards are face up, so players may see them, and two get left face down. The object of the game is to get the lowest possible score by drawing and swapping cards. You can swap the faced-down cards, but it’s risky!
UNO is a competitive, standard and fun card game. The object of the game is to get rid of the entire hand of cards by matching them to the top card in the center pile. When you have one card left, remember to yell “Uno!”
Skills supported: Focus, attention, working memory, recall, processing speed, and persevering when the odds are not looking favorable. You may think you’re not going to win, but sticking with it can prove you wrong with these fast-paced games.
*Taken from ASHA's online publication of Leader Live; written by Emily Jupiter, MS, CCC, SLP
*direct link to article