Brain Drain Busters: The Ultimate List
This summer has been quite an active one already! While we will be taking a break from blogging until August, we're sticking with the Alphabet Aerobics Speech tradition and creating an ultimate list so you can support your children's growing minds all summer long.
Check out our Brain Drain Busters: The Ultimate List, below!
Games on the Go:
* Going on a Picnic: click here for more info
* The Alphabet Game: click here for more info
* I Spy: click here for more info
* 20 Questions:
A player chooses a person, place, or thing, and the other players have to guess the item using 20 questions or fewer. Try to think of something random and silly to make the game more challenging and fun!
Complete creative and goofy stories by filling in your own nouns, verbs, and adjectives! You can buy them in a package at your local bookstore, download the app from the App Store, or try making them up yourself!
* The Story Game:
One person starts by describing a scene. Then each person adds a detail to the story and you just never know what hilarity will ensue! If you're stumped and can't think of a story starter, you may want to use the app, Shake-A-Phrase (see below), to generate the first line of the story.
Apps as Appetizers:
Apps is short for applications, however, it is often also used as an abbreviation for appetizers. Thinking of iPad or smartphone apps as an "appetizer" is a good way to determine how to allocate screen time. For instance, families could use apps as an additional tool for vocabulary, before the "main course" of reading. Short periods of screen time can help children practice language, reading, writing, and math skills. Take a look at the educational and entertaining apps below, all of which can be played for short periods of time.
This interactive app gives creative and silly sentences that families with kids 8 and up can use for creative writing or story telling. Additionally, the "Quiz Me" section creates really silly sentences with rich vocabulary. It then prompts the user to tap various parts of speech such as nouns, verbs, and adjectives.
While the name doesn't exactly scream "FUN TIMES AHEAD," this truly is a fun vocabulary app that has very cute picture scenes. Match the descriptive words to the correct pictures and when you're all done, press "OK" to see if you've matched them correctly. There are many different levels and themes to spice up your child's vocabulary. Check out the adorable screen shot below!
AutoRap or Crayola DJ:
With these endlessly entertaining apps, any child can become a music producer and rap superstar! I use AutoRap because it's simple design minimizes distractions. The child records whatever they'd like to say and the AutoRap app changes it into a realistic-sounding rap song! You can choose various background beats and, if you subscribe, you can even choose popular songs to rap over. It's awesome and my students request to use it session after session without even realizing that they're learning phonics in the process! We make up rap songs about vowels and vowel sounds, but you can use this for vocabulary, categories, synonyms, anytonyms, describing words, even for practicing synatx, sentence expansion and sentence structure.
Disney Story Central
Okay, so this app may be a little more of a "main course" but if using the iPad encourages reading together, then go for it! While some of these stories may be challenging for younger children to read, they are rich in vocabulary and ideal for read aloud time! Favorite characters, such as Mickey, Elsa, and Doc McStuffins, will help you lull your child to sleep.
Now that you can carry a camera anywhere using smartphones, try using pictures to remind your child about activities you've done that day or earlier in the week. Pictures are a fantastic anchor for conversational skills! You can work on past tense verbs, you can work on sequencing events, you can even just work on recalling details. There are so many options and since pictures are visual, they provide some additional support for conversational skills. Also, try chatting with your children about their summer schedule, their day at camp, vacation plans, or even narrate interactions at a store. Just don't forget the visuals! These conversations can be great practice for sequencing, vocabulary, concepts of time, and mathematical calculations.
Books are great but sometimes the summer sun has a way of draining away our attention spans. For this reason, other alternatives are magazines and news articles. There are many websites that have news articles that can be tailored to different age levels. My personal favorite is newsela.com. When you create an account, you can choose the length and difficulty of each article on the website. The site is fantastic for expanding and addressing topics of interest to kids and teens because it contains various categories such as law, money, sports, arts, and health. The old favorites Ranger Rick, Highlights, and Zoobooks are also great resources for brief, challenging reading material.
Cooking together can be a fantastic way to approach a variety of language enhacing tasks. Additionally, is it a way to get picky eaters involved and feeling a sense of ownership over they are eating. Kids are more likely to try something when they participate in creating it. You can work on fractions and math skills, science, sequencing, vocabulary, and predictions.
Consider trying some of these ideas out:
* What should we do first, next, and last?
* What would happen if we put the oven on too high? What if it were on too
* Let's test out different recipes and see how they are different!
* What do you think would happen if we forget an ingredient? Too add the
science component, check Google to find out why!
That's a wrap on our Ultimate Brain Drain Busters list! Have a happy and safe July, and keep up the laughter and learning! Feel free to reach out to us here, if you have any questions or comments! We love to hear from you!
- The Alphabet Aerobics Speech team