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Helping your child from head to toe
Post date: 1 Jul 2015

Summer is a great opportunity to get out and about and explore your environment. There are lots of ways that you can help boost your child’s development including their physical development, attention and listening and speech and language. The children’s therapy team have put together some activities to support your child’s development this summer, based around a day at the seaside. All of the activities could be adapted for other days out, eg at the park, in the garden, at the shops, at the zoo or even a teddy bear’s picnic.         A day at the seaside

Physical development:

Seaside animals:

  • Seahorse: Walking on toes and then jumping up high like a sea horse into the sea.
  • Dolphin: Run and then see who can jump the highest over the waves as they approach the shore.
  • Starfish: How many star jumps can you do in 30 seconds?

Extra idea: Print pictures of the different sea creatures and then bury them in the sand for your child to find. Once your child finds them they then carry out the movements.

Treasure hunt:

This is where your child has to squat to find hidden items such as shells. Encourage your child to use both hands to dig for the shells.

Sand castle jumping:

You could build sand castles and then practice jumping or even hopping over them – try not to knock them down!

Attention and listening:

Beach races:

Play a running game at the beach. Encourage your child to wait for go before they start running, eg ready, steady, go. Encourage your child to stop when you say stop. Hold your hand up with your palm out in a stop gesture to support their understanding of stop and go. If your child finds it difficult to listen, hold their hand and run and stop with them to help them understand the game.

Beach statues:

Play musical statues at the beach. Play music or sing a song. Encourage your child to dance when the music is playing and stop when the music stops. If your child finds this difficult, hold their hands and dance with them and stop when the music stops.

What can we hear?:

Let’s use our ears to listen to all the noises at the beach, eg seagulls, people, sea, ice cream van, music, dogs etc. Your child can point to or name the items.

Support your child by modelling the game to them. Hold your hand up to your ear and say "I can hear a dog. " "Listen, can you hear the dog?” Take turns to listen. "What can you hear?”

Adapt to other days out by listening to different sounds around you, eg at the park listen for children, dogs, ice cream van, ducks etc.


Treasure hunt.

Before you go to the seaside, make a list with your child of items that you can see at the seaside. Cut out pictures of the objects and stick them onto a piece of paper.

When you are at the seaside, see if they can look and find the different items on the list, eg pebbles, seaweed, bucket, sun, sand, sea, flip flops.

Adapt to other days out by looking for objects you can find, eg, at the park- leaf, stick, flower, slide, swing, pond, duck, fish.

Understanding language (receptive language)

Packing and unpacking the bag.

Choose a range of common objects that you will take on your day out eg ball, sunglasses, towel and bucket. See if your child can listen as you name the objects, find them and put them into your bag, eg can you find the ball?

To make the game more difficult, see if they can find two items, eg can you find the ball and the towel?

Adapt to other days out by packing items for a picnic, for example can you find the banana, the drink, the sandwich?

Expressive language:

Help your child to learn new action words using action songs and rhymes eg "I can…”

Chant the rhyme whilst performing the actions eg: I can…..

  • run run run along the sand
  • dig dig dig a hole in the sand
  • swim swim swim in the sea
  • pat pat pat the sandcastle
  • lick lick lick the ice cream

Adapt to other days out, eg a day at the park – step step step on the logs, jump jump jump on the grass, swing swing swing on the swing.

Describing words:

Help your child to learn new describing words by finding objects and talking about them together.

Stones in the water: take it in turns to pick up pebbles on the beach and talk about them together, eg "I found a big pebble, you found a small pebble.” "I found a grey pebble.”

To make the game more difficult see if your child can find pebbles that you describe, eg "Can you find a big pebble? Can you find a smooth pebble?”

Use a range of different describing words such as big, small, rough, smooth, grey, white, slippery, wet, dry etc.

Throw them into the water when you’ve found them.

Adapt to other days out, eg a day at the park by finding a big leaf, little leaf, red flower, yellow flower, long stick and short stick etc.


As your child begins to learn about speech sounds (phonics), support their awareness and use of speech sounds by finding objects that begin with a chosen letter.

Encourage your child to find as many objects as possible beginning with a chosen letter, they could point to them, draw them or put them into a bucket. For example find as many things as you can that start with ‘s’, eg sea, sun, sand, sock, sandwich.

Eating and drinking:

Involve your child in packing and preparing a picnic for your day out. For more tips on healthy foods to take with you, read our blog on "Helping under –fives to eat a rainbow of vegetables.”
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