Use these fun outdoor activities for lots of fun in your speech and language classes.


Do you ever take your speech sessions or classroom lessons outdoors? Children LOVE being outside and there are truly so many benefits to bringing the learning outside. Today, I am sharing some fun (and FUNctional) outdoor speech activities to build language skills! These low-cost, engaging activities are the perfect way to mix up your speech sessions when the weather is nice out! 

Use these fun and engaging outdoor activities to build speech and language skills in your preschool and toddler speech therapy students this year.

1. Use Water Play For Language Skills

First up, this one is always a crowd favorite among preschoolers and young learners! For this activity, you can use a water table or go the DIY route. Water tables are typically pretty inexpensive from stores like Target, Walmart, and even on Amazon if you're interested in investing in a larger piece. There are lots of options for less than $50!

Alternatively, you can go the DIY route and grab yourself a large plastic storage bin.  For this option I've found that a bin that with short walls works great for students.  They can play without having to stand up and lean up.  No falling in is a good rule to have!  :-)

Using water activities can help your students with key vocabulary you are focusing on plus give them some fine motor skills practice too.

Fill your bin or table with water and throw in a bunch of random items. Seriously, just about anything you can find laying around like bath toys, cups, plastic dishes, funnels, paintbrushes, and sponges all work great! From there, let your students start playing and exploring. 

Talk about which items float and which ones sink. Ask students what the water feels like. Ask them to describe the items they find in the tub. Can you see the endless possibilities for language development?!

2. Try Sandbox Activities

Next up, this is very similar to the water table and provides a great sensory activity to practice language and speech skills outdoors. Many schools and parks will already have a sandbox however; if you don't have access to one you can easily make one! Use that same plastic storage bin or an empty water table and fill it with sand. Play sand can be found at hardware stores and also in smaller bags of colored varieties at craft stores. 

Use the sandbox to get your students excited to practice key vocabulary.

Hide toys and other small items in the sand and then invite your littles to start exploring! Ask questions like, "How does the sand feel? What did you find in the sand? What color is that? Is it soft or hard? Are you having fun?". I'm sure you can think of many more questions to ask!

Tailor this activity to suit the needs of your group and have fun with the mix-ins too! I love to use different seasonal items to match the time of year. A dinosaur or pirate treasure theme are also perfect for digging in the sand.

3. Bubbles For Speech Therapy 

There are so many ideas and ways to use bubbles in therapy and kids LOVE them! I personally have used bubbles with students and children working on /b/ and /p/ lip rounding. This is a great way to practice this skill in a way that feels fun and exciting to your students. 

Bubbles are exciting for everyone. Use them in your speech therapy classes to build vocabulary in a fun and engaging way your students will absolutely love!

Some other ideas for using bubbles are:

  • Promoting Eye Contact
  • Requesting Items
  • Articulation (/p/ for pop, /b/ for bubbles, /m/ for more)
  • Vocabulary (more, please, fun, bubbles)
  • Turn-Taking 

No matter which activity you choose to focus on, your students will be engaged and excited to use bubbles! Check out the local dollar store for inexpensive bubbles and bubble wands to use with your kiddos. 

4. Language Skills On The Playground 

If you are lucky enough to have a playground at the school or therapy location then you must get out there.  Play is a great way to work on those speech and language skills! Trust me, your little ones won’t even realize they are actually “working” when they are going down the slide, swinging, jumping, and running!

Work on targeted vocabulary with your speech therapy students on the playground for lots of fun and engagement.

The playground is the most perfect place to work on action verbs. Each time your students go down the slide, ask something like ”WOW, what did you just do?! This will prompt your students to answer with an action verb in a fun way!
For non-verbal students, try making some pictures of activities you can do on the playground like swinging, sliding, jumping, and running.  Have your students point out the activity they just did or choose what they want to play on next. In addition to actions, you can also try working on prepositions as well. Try asking something like, “Did you go up or down the slide?” or “Show me the top of the slide”.

5. Go on a Speech Class Picnic

This might seem a little far-fetched, especially if you work in a school but trust me, it’s super easy! First of all, who wouldn’t love to go outside to have snack or lunch? Your students will have so much fun with this activity and it's super simple to facilitate!

Take your speech therapy students outside for even more fun vocabulary practice relating to step by step directions and descriptive vocabulary

First, grab a small basket, bin or container and get packing. This is the perfect opportunity to work on sequencing and following directions with your group. For example, say something like:

  • First, put your sandwich in the basket.”
  • Then, put your chips and drink in the basket.”  
  • Finally, close the basket and say I’m ready for a picnic!”

Once all of your students have gone through the steps of packing up, head outside! Lay down a blanket or sit at a picnic bench and chow down! Don’t forget to continue targeting those language skills while you eat as well. 

Ask questions like, “How do your chips taste?” or “Is your juice hot or cold?”.

And . . .if you can't actually take your kiddos out for a real snack or meal, try a pretend picnic! Follow all of these steps with play food to help your littles work on speech and language skills as well as imaginative play! 

6. Planting For Outdoor Speech Therapy 

Planting seeds is a super fun outdoor speech activity to try in the spring or early summer and will allow for check-ins as your plants grow. To get started, stop by your local dollar store for mini pots, seed packets, mini shovels, and soil. I am always able to find ALL of these items at Dollar Tree!

Planting activities are great for sequencing and can carry across multiple speech therapy sessions as plants sprout and grow.

This activity is great because it can carry on across multiple speech and language sessions. First, head outside to plant the seeds with your littles. This is a great time to focus on sequencing actions and following directions. Next, students will get to check on their plants and water them throughout the coming weeks. This will create an extra level of excitement to come to the speech room!

As students monitor growth of their plants, ask questions about their observations and ask them to describe changes. This is such a meaningful and fun activity that your students will love and remember for years to come. 

7. Outdoor Speech Scavenger Hunt 

Last, but definitely not least, try taking your students on a nature walk! You may need to be creative depending on where you live and the location of your school but some ideas for your walk might include a courtyard, playground, picnic area, or field.

See what your students can find (i.e. leaves, rocks, bugs, a feather, etc.) and talk about them. This is perfect for describing, using senses (touch, smell, sound), following directions, turn-taking, and more!

To make your “nature walk” a little easier to target all of these skills, I made a FREEBIE just for you! This fun freebie comes with a printable checklist to help facilitate this fun activity. Students will love checking each item off they find! As they find an item on their list, don't forget to ask for descriptions to really target those speech and language skills. 

Grab the Nature Scavenger Hunt Freebie and head outside with your littles! 

Grab this Nature Scavenger Hunt FREEBIE to use in your classroom today! 

Save These Ideas For Later!

Don't forget to save this post to your favorite Pinterest board for when you're ready to dive into outdoor speech therapy activities with your students! 

 Use these fun and engaging outdoor activities to build speech and language with your speech therapy students this year.

1 comment

This is so helpful for me! The little ones are ready to get outside! I can also use this information to help the teachers work on language during play.


Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.