Early Language Activities

Using Everyday Objects for Language: Nature Edition

This week we begin week 5 our Language with Everyday Objects series. This week, we are getting outside and using what we can find in nature! I will share with you 5 of the activities we did for this but you can find a complete list of ideas and language based worksheets HERE.

Early Childhood Speech & Language Packet

The Schedule

Monday: Nature Color Hunt

Tuesday: Flower Sun Catcher

Wednesday: Bugs in Mud Sensory Bin & Activities

Thursday: Nature Portrait

Friday: Paint with Nature

Nature Color Hunt

Materials Needed:

  • Color Sheet found HERE
  • Clothespins

Directions:

  1. Grab your materials and tell your child “Let’s go look for colors!” We are going on a scavenger hunt.
  2. Get outside and see what you can find. Focus on one color at a time and use simple language “We need something ____” or “We are looking for ______”. When you see an object that color use attention words like “Look! Down/Over there!” and see if they can follow your eye gaze. If they can’t, point to help them.
  3. Once you find the object you can say “It is ___”. This is also a great time to talk about other ways you can describe it- it’s parts, smell, etc. If your child has more language, you may ask if they can thing of other things in nature that are the same color.
  4. Do this for each color.
  5. When you are done, Look at all of the different items and compare/contrast. For younger children keep it simple “This/these are green and this one was purple”. But if your child is older see if they can recall details from your descriptions and give other ways the items are same/different.

Flower Sun Catcher

Materials Needed:

  • Contact Paper
  • 2 Sticks
  • Flowers/Plants from Yard/Nature Walk
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • String

Directions

  1. Grab a basket and get outside to hunt for your materials! Say “I See” often and give them a chance to share too. Use “Take off” and “Put In” every time your child chooses a new flower/leaf (but make sure it’s ok for them to take!). Once your child has put the item in the basket you can reiterate the language by saying “You put the ___ in the basket”.
  2. For Toddlers: keep the choices for their creation limited.
  3. When you get back, cut the contact paper to the desired size. Peel.
  4. Tape the contact paper onto the table (this is optional but it helps keep everything in one place). Set the sticks aside.
  5. Put the nature items on the left side of the contact paper and show your child how to “put on”. Let them take charge! You can narrate what they are doing (“oh! you put the petal under the leaf”, etc.) but keep your wording simple and repetitive.
  6. Cut 4 holes/slits into each corner of the contact paper.
  7. Thread the string through the contact paper and tie onto the stick. You will do this 4 times (2 ties on each stick).

This will last for several days hung in the window!

Bugs in the Mud Sensory Bin with Visual Recipe

Materials Needed:

  • Visual Recipe Book found HERE
  • Cocoa
  • Cornstarch
  • Water
  • 2 Bowls/Trays
  • Bugs
  • Optional: Tongs/Tweezers

Directions:

  1. Follow the visual recipe to create the mud. Let your child get involved with measuring, pouring, and mixing the items together. Use directions like “look what’s next”, “what do you see (pointing to direction)?”, “We need the ____”, “go, stop”
  2. Throw the bugs in the mud!
  3. Let your child explore independently for a few minutes. If they don’t like the texture you can offer tongs (I’ve linked our favorites above in materials). We added a water container as well for B to clean the animals (high interest right now).
  4. While playing- talk about the look, feel, and smell of the mud. For older kids ask them how it compares to real dirt/mud. Name the animals stuck in the mud and don’t be afraid of some pretend- “help me! help me! I am stuck! I need help!”, “Get me out” etc. is great for core word practice (don’t know what this is? read about it HERE) and engaging imagination.
  5. Once they take the animals out you can use phrases like “you got the ___”, “Do/find more”, “What is is?” “I like the ___”.

Have an older child who is already talking up a storm? Let them match the bugs to the picture as they clean each bug off, describing the bugs key features. OR use the included inferencing game in the packet and see if your child can hunt for the bugs given the clues! My preschool and school age students LOVE this activity!

Nature Portrait

Materials Needed:

  • Contact Paper
  • Face (If your child is old enough- have them draw their own. Worksheet to guide found HERE)
  • Flowers/Leaves/Etc. found in Nature

Directions:

  1. Grab a piece of paper and have your child draw a picture of themselves. It may help to do this in front of a mirror. Talk about the color of their hair and eyes, what body parts are on their face, etc. *Toddlers: Do this part for them- have a face pre-drawn with body parts, don’t worry about colors.
  2. Based on your child’s drawing, talk to them about what you need to find on your nature walk. Brown hair? Maybe you need to find some pine straw or bark. Blue eyes? Maybe we can find some blue flowers, etc.
  3. Get outside and searching! It may help to take the picture with you to stay on track.
    • For Toddlers- “Look what I/you found!”, “I see a flower, it is yellow”, “Get it”, “Do you want more?” “We need more” “All done/finished”
    • For Preschoolers- Use the simple language but don’t be afraid to talk about quantity (need more/less) and use adjectives like long/short, big/small, light/dark, etc.
  4. Put contact paper over the face picture. Tape to the table to secure (optional). Put the nature findings on the left and have the paper on the right.
  5. Remind the child that we are making a picture of them. “What do you look like? Let’s make it!” “Start here”.
  6. Let your child lead. You can have them request the nature items during this “I want ____”. See where they put it. For younger children, tell them what they are using it for. For older children let them narrate what they are doing/thinking.
  7. When you are finished take away the drawing and see how you did!

Paint with Nature

Materials Needed:

  • Items found on nature walk
  • Paper
  • Paint
  • Rubber Bands (useful for holding sticks/branches together- could also use sticks)

Directions

  1. Tell your child you are going to go find things in nature to paint.
    • For Preschoolers: Look at paintbrushes and stamps (if you have them) before you go and talk about what some good things might be to use in their place. Point out how the make brush strokes or have different shapes.
    • For Toddlers: Keep the language simple “Let’s go find some sticks and leaves and…”. “What can we carry them in?” (see if they will find a basket or bag- toddlers love to carry their treasures!)
  2. While on the hunt use core words like “Look here/there”, “Where is it?”, “I see”, “It is a ______” when you pick up the items.
    • For toddlers- you can label the items only or give a simple description while pointing/feeling the item.
    • For Preschoolers- let them describe what they found by talking about what they see and feel. If they can do that challenge them by comparing it to the previous item.
  3. Once you have all of your items head back to the house and get painting. I’d keep it to one paint color so you can focus on the nature prints. Practice requesting with “paint/more paint/want paint please/I want more paint please” and by requesting the “tools” (nature items). You can ask “What” and “Where” questions during this and use words like “here, there, next to, above, under, etc.” to talk about where they do the different items. Point out differences in the items prints.
  4. Set aside paper to dry. For children talking in sentences- see if they can recall how and what they made after it dries by telling to a sibling or parent.

I hope you have enjoyed our week of nature and your child has expanded their vocabulary! If you want even more “worksheets” for your child to use during this week you can find my nature unit with additional activities, crafts, and worksheets HERE.

Remember- the key is slowing down, being repetitive, and staying intentional during your time together! Let me know if your child learned any new vocabulary throughout this week! And if you do any of the crafts please share with me @languageandplaydates on Instagram!

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