I think it makes complete sense that my first official post would be centered on blueberries. I love blueberries, and this past Friday I went to a local farm and picked an abundance of sweet little blues. Aside from taking over my fridge and freezer, they have been the focal point in many of my meals this week. Blueberries make a great addition to cereal, oatmeal, yogurt and even peanut butter toast! They are healthy, kid friendly and delicious. What’s not to love?
Blueberry picking (or any fruit/vegetable picking) can be a fantastic way to promote language development, fine motor skills and healthy eating. Not to mention, aside from the cost of the berries (which is far cheaper than the grocery store)…it is free! A great resource for finding a local farm is www.pickyourown.org.
So, how can you incorporate speech and language into a trip to the blueberry farm? Here are a few ideas:
1. Expressive Language
-Ask your child to describe the shape, size, color, taste of the blueberries. Talk about how some are sweet while others are sour, some are big and some are small etc.
2. Receptive Language
-Play a “listening game” while you pick. For example, you might say, “put one blueberry in my bucket and two in yours.” Right there you are targeting quantitative concepts (one and two) and pronouns (mine and yours). These are really important language concepts that your child needs in order to follow directions during classroom activities.
-On the way home, ask your child to describe his or her experience at the farm. (For example, first, we parked the car, then we got a bucket, then we walked to the field and picked the blueberries and finally we paid for the berries and went home). Your child may need some prompting for this one, and that is totally okay. Sequencing is an important skill for your child to be able to retell stories and recall information from spoken directions. Bonus points if you and your child break out the crayons and draw a picture of the experience!
I think everything tastes a little sweeter when you’ve picked it yourself. Not only that, but you have just accomplished a language and fine motor activity, gotten some exercise, promoted healthy eating and supported a local farm. Three cheers indeed!