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  • Writer's pictureRachel

Five ways to sneak language play into your daily walk

It's May 2020 and we've been at home for nine weeks or so. We have a dog and a daily walk is a must for us but, with or without a dog, here are five ways to have fun learning whilst on your jaunt.

Play I Spy/I Hear

A good way to start is with colours but there are endless possibilities. I spy with my little eye, something green! You could try size: I spy with my little eye, something taller than me! You could even describe what you hear: I hear with my listening ear, something that crackles. When it's time to move onto sounds, remember to start with the sound at the beginning of each word before using letter names: I spy with my little eye, something beginning with 'sh' (for sheep), rather than something beginning with 'S.'

Take an alphabet walk

Start out with 'A' but use the sound 'a' to look for something that begins with each sound as you work through the alphabet on the way. You could try this with numbers, too: look for something you can only see one of, two of, etc.

Make up rhyming strings on each street

Fish, dish, wish, turn the corner, cat, mat, sat! Take turns to say a word in a string of words that rhyme. Help your child to realise that you are swapping the starting sound but keeping the remainder of the word the same. Identifying rhyming words is difficult. We need children to be able to isolate the sounds in words and this takes time.

Make lists of objects within a given category

Choose a category, such as fruit, and take turns to add an item to your list. This is good for organising thoughts as well as naming objects and making links in the brain between knowledge and experience. Play Grannie went to market, adding to her shopping list each time.

Tell a story

You could tell your child a story, develop a storyline together, or encourage them to tell you a story. This might be a story you know well or a new one, made up on the spot. There's no need to remember it and no pressure to write it down, so your child may be happier to make up a tale as you walk and talk than if they were sitting with a blank piece of paper to record their ideas.

There are lots of little ways to sneak learning into your daily routines: home schooling young children needn't mean you have to be at the table all day. Home schooling definitely isn't easy, especially when your children are used to being in school, and even for a teacher, but a few quick wins, like the activities above, and many more, can help to lighten the load.

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