Did you know that Arbor Day happens in the Spring?  I’d tell you an exact date but it’s different for every state.  Check out this website that will tell you when your state celebrates Arbor Day.  Arbor Day comes to us from Nebraska who decided that they were sad that they didn’t have as many beautiful trees as Missouri 😉 and they wanted to get everyone motivated to plant more.  Now the whole nation celebrates it!  Check out these great arbor day activities that you can do with your child to improve his/her speech and language skills at home:

Arbor Day Activities 1:

Plant a Tree!: Following Directions, Sequencing, Social Scripts

Of course!  This one’s a no-brainer.  But here’s how you can work speech and language into it.  Create a set of directions for all of the steps your child will need to plant a tree.  For younger children, keep it short and sweet with only a few steps they need to do.  For older children, you can have it more complex and it could even involve going to the nursery and picking out a sapling or young tree.  During and after the activity, talk about what steps come first, which ones come next, and what you do last.  For older children, talk about what kinds of things your child will need to say at the store to ask for and purchase a tree.  Give your child the money and see if he can count out how much he needs.  Don’t forget to come back and water the tree and watch it grow!

Arbor Day Activities 2:

Make a Sound Tree: Speech and Literacy

For this activity, you will need a picture of a tree, but you could just draw a simple tree on a piece of paper or poster board.  If you don’t trust your artistic ability, try searching for “tree coloring page” on Google Image search.  Once you have your tree, add some fruit to your tree that all have a different letter or sound inside.  Have your child decorate the tree but make sure he can still see the letters.  Once it is all decorated, practice saying each letter and the sound that it makes.  This will not only improve your child’s reading skills but also his speech skills.  Research shows that children who know how to make a sound by itself like that are much more likely to learn how to say the sound in conversation without requiring speech therapy.  If you do nothing else for your child’s speech development, at least teach him how to make all of the sounds.  If you need help learning how to teach your child to say a certain sound, click here to be taken to my article on sound elicitation techniques.

Arbor Day Activities 3:

Research About How Trees Help Us: Research, Function

Look up trees online or at your local library.  Create a list with your child of all of the ways trees help us.  The list is very long so pick out the things that make sense to and resonate with your child.  Here are some of the ones I came up with that your child may enjoy:

  • Trees produce oxygen which cleans our air
  • Trees provide homes for animals
  • Trees keep the dirt in the ground from washing away
  • Trees are great for climbing and playing
  • Trees provide shade which keep us cool in the summer
  • Trees shelter us from the rain

While you’re doing this, talk about any vocabulary words that you come to that your child doesn’t know.  For older children, have them write complete sentences about trees while doing this activity.  For younger children, write it for them so they see yet another great function of writing!

Arbor Day is a fantastic holiday and if you live in a place without many trees, you will see the benefit of planting a few more in your area.  Enjoy these fun arbor day activities!  Don’t forget to head over to my store and check out all of my great resources and games!

More Resources for Speech-Language Pathologists:

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