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Language On the Go

Language is everywhere! And our children learn language best when they get a variety of experiences – different communication partners in different environments.


For many families, summer is a time where we move away from our day-to-day routines and look for something new or exciting to do. That can be vacations, day trips, summer camps, or just more time outside.


Summer is a great time to shake things up a bit and get talking somewhere new.


So take a look at some of our favorite locations in the Greater Boston area to take your kids this summer. And, as an added bonus, I've included tips for supporting language during these activities!


Splash Parks


What is more fun than cooling off in the water after being out on a summer day?


Splash parks are FREE and open to the public during the summer. And they are also great opportunities to use language in a new environment.


Words to emphasize --

  • water

  • on / off

  • ready, set, go

  • run, touch, splash, slip, fall

  • push (button)

Concepts to talk about --

  • opposites like wet/dry, on/off, big/small

  • cause and effect when you push the button and water turns on


CHECK OUT OUR FAVORITE SPLASH PARKS!


Located next to Thompson School within walking distance to Arlington Center and East Arlington, this splash park is fun and directly next to the brand new Lussiano playground. The splash park is an open unfenced-in area with benches along one side for parents to sit. While it is probably best for children who can walk independently, there are puddles and smaller fountains where babies and toddlers can play. Water is controlled by towers around the splash park area.


This large fenced-in water park is one of my favorites because of, well, the fence. It is so nice to have a safe area for our very active and adventurous kids. The splash area is next to two playground areas -- also fenced in! - and a track-and-field area.


Located within walking distance from the Red Line's Alewife Station, Danehy Park has it all: wide-open spaces, bike paths, sports fields, playgrounds, picnic tables, and a spray park. Toddlers and older children alike will love to run around and splash on the spray deck.


A large circular spray deck with fun water features and boulders to climb, this park is fun for kids of all ages. There is also a nearby playground and lots of green space to explore. The rocks can get slippery when wet so bring water shoes! Parents will also enjoy the shaded picnic benches along the outside of the park.


Outdoor Zoos and Museums


There is so much to explore in the Greater Boston area while the weather is nice.


Words to emphasize --

  • animal sounds (roar, tweet, hiss)

  • descriptive words (color, size, feelings)

  • action words (running, jumping, swinging, swimming)

Things to talk about --

  • how do the animals feel? "tired", "happy", "hungry"

  • what do the statues look like? "big", "round", "tall"

  • where do these animals live? "in a tree", "in the water"

CHECK OUT OUR FAVORITE PLACES!


The Stone Zoo is the perfect place to bring your child whether it is their first or fiftieth experience at the zoo. Check out all sorts of animals like the vibrant pink flamingos, the lumbering black bears, and the slithering snakes. We may be biased, but we think the otter exhibit is definitely the best part of this zoo -- the otter kits are fun and active, swimming in their little pond. There is also a wonderful playground, fun lego sculpture art, and a lunch area.


In case you need more persuasion, here is a little otter video for you in your life right now -- My excitement cannot be contained!



If you are ready for the trip into Boston, Franklin Park Zoo is a must-see with its gorillas, kangaroos, and giraffes. Bigger than the Stone Zoo, this is perfect for avid zoo-goers who want to see lots of different animals. But one of the biggest draws for kids is the playground -- 10,000 square feet and inspired by the wildlife at the zoo.


This sculpture park is the largest of its kind in New England. It features many different outdoor, modern and contemporary sculpture as well as some rotating exhibitions and indoor galleries. You'd be surprised how interesting this type of artwork can be for children to explore.


Indoor Activities


Whether you are looking to escape the heat with some air conditioning or trying to avoid a rainy day, there are lots of fun places in Greater Boston where kids can learn and explore.


Words to emphasize --

  • social comments ("wow", "cool", "oh no")

  • descriptive words (color, size, feelings)

Things to practice --

  • pretend play (e.g., eating food, serving food, pushing trains/cars, rowing a boat)

  • joint attention (e.g., point and say "look", eye gaze or touch to share interest)

  • social play (e.g., sharing items, giving items, taking turns)

  • perspective taking (e.g., talk about your favorite part, notice if you have different favorites)

CHECK OUT OUR FAVORITE PLACES!


I grew up in Acton and went to the Discovery Museum a lot as a kid. So it was super fun for me to bring my own kids there and watch them learn and play and explore. The museum has exhibits on sound and music, rotating exhibits (like the caterpillars that we just saw!), and pretend play areas where kids can cook, go camping, or sail. There is a special section for children 0-3 which has books, cushioned play areas, and a wooden structure to climb on. And, my toddler's absolute favorite spot, the water play area on the first floor is a blast! Throw on those smocks, though -- you're gonna get wet!


This museum is packed with fun exhibits for kids to explore. Check out their Bubbles exhibit or spend time in the Art Lab for some creative play or build a castle in the Fantastic Fort exhibits. They also have fun themed events for kids all summer long.


Whether you are finding Nemo or finding Dory, the aquarium is the place to be. They have all sorts of underwater creatures to discover as well as penguins, seals, turtles, and more. Kids can even touch some of these fun animals in the Touch Tank exhibits. The Aquarium also has a theater with wrap-around digital surround sound for an amazing, immersive viewing experience.


Play Union is a drop-in pretend play and craft center where kids can build with magnatiles, engage in pretend play, put on puppet shows and more.


An indoor center for children that offers all sorts of social play and learning opportunities. Check out their themed activities and crafts. Or watch your child build friendships while they explore the play gym, climbing gym, or water play area.


Did We Miss Anything?


This is just a small subset of the amazing places to go in the Greater Boston area. Did we mention your favorite? Do you have any suggestions?


And if you check any of these out, let us know! Tag us on Instagram @talktimeboston to let us know what you and your family liked to talk about!


Remember, language is everywhere!






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