I don’t know about you but I really enjoyed that snow we had a couple weeks back. In fact, I want a little more, but I don’t know if that’s going to happen. After all, this is Dallas…Texas. *sigh. Anyway, at least PENGUIN DAYS at the zoo are still on; through the end of February.

That gets me thinking, let’s talk about speech and language development at the zoo. Obviously it’s a great place to learn about animals; (animals you’ve never seen before, animals you’ve only seen in books) but I think that the lesson that goes overlooked is the one about discovering verbs at the zoo.

Frequently, parents tell me that their child has a lot of single words but they just haven’t started combining words yet. I ask, “how many of those single words are verbs?” Frequently, it seems, these kids are noun heavy. They use primarily nouns and maybe some tangible adjectives like those pertaining to size or color but very few verbs. What really makes language ‘go’ are the verbs. Even the simplest sentence has a verb. So when you visit the zoo don’t just talk about the animals you see; describe what they do and watch how your little one begins to observe movement around themselves and then use the words you’ve modeled to discuss movement too.

Try to spy these verbs on your next visit:

p.s. Here’s a fun song from Super Simple Learning to get those verb-filled juices flowing (see video below).

p.p.s. this is all pretty fun if you’re just watching the squirrels on the fence too; just sayin’.

About K. Joi Uzoh, M.A., CCC-SLP

Joi is an ASHA licensed Speech-Language Pathologist and the Owner and Director of Speech and Language Services at ClearWay Speech and Language Center, a family-centered speech and language therapy private practice located in East Dallas. She has been helping families improve the communication skills of their loved ones since 2007 and especially enjoys working on language disorders, complex sound disorders, and stuttering in persons of all ages. Through individualized service and caregiver education, she helps families realize their communication goals.

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