Thursday, May 25, 2017

Field Trip to a Fish Store to develop Speech and Language Skills

by Lauren Barnett, MA, CCC-SLP

close up picture of fish in a tank

If you've read my blog for any amount of time, you'll know that I love field trips! Now, these are not class field trips, just family field trips! Almost any store, building, restaurant or location can become a fabulous field trip. Use can use these outings as a way to develop your child's speech and language skills!

Our most recent trip was to the fish store. Do you know how many cool things there are to see at a fish store?!

So, to be completely honest, I do not love fish tanks and all the stuff that goes with them. We have them, but they are my husband's projects! I like to be emotionally supportive, but they are not my thing. 😁

However, the fish store is awesome!

We went on our most recent trip to the fish store because Big Sister's first fish, Lavender (a beautiful purple-ish beta fish), died. She had a good life. And actually, talking about the life cycle of a fish was good for Big Sister...but that is not today's topic!

It was quite a long drive to "the best fish store" so we used that time to do some planning. We talked about the social skills that we expected once we went into the store. We talked about the things we hoped to see and do (future tense verbs). So even before we got to the store, we had engaged in lots of language developing activities!

I took some pictures while we were there but I was really busy spending time with my kiddos so I'll have to just share what we talked about when I don't have a supporting picture!

boy looking in a fish tank developing speech and language skills

The colors of the fish are amazing! You can work on basic colors like red, blue and yellow. But there were advanced colors like teal and clear. Yes, seriously, clear! I'll tell yo more about those later in the post!

blue fishyellow fish

Location Concepts
We talked about where the fish were going. They swam over the coral and through the coral and under other fish. It was great! We also talked about locations in the store "by the wall" "near the front" and "at the back."

white fish swimming above coral

Recalling Details from a Movie (Finding Nemo or Finding Dory)
We used this fish to talk about Disney's movie Finding Dory. I always try to get small kiddos to recall at least 3 characters or events in the movie or story. You can also focus on the sequence or plot of the movie. Again, try to get 3 steps in the process!

 clown fish in a tank

Besides just talking about the beautiful colors you see, the fish has so many other unique features! Some have spots. Others have stripes. Some have large foreheads (do fish have foreheads? If you saw this fish you'd say he has a big forehead!). Fast! Slow! Big. Small.  You can count how many are in a tank (for some of the tanks! Some have tons of fish!) Any adjective that you can think of you can probably find a fish that has it!

little striped fish in a tankblack and white fish in a tank

Planning / Problem Solving
We worked on problem solving in the store. Big Sister's tank is 10 gallons and can only support a certain number of fish. So we talked about the benefits of doing 7 of this type of fish versus 4 of this type and 2 of another. We thought of different combination of fish that she could have. She also got to plan and problem solve at home when setting up her tank. Where should the plants and design elements go. What would benefit the fish? What would look the best?

girl asking fish store staff questions

Asking Questions
This was probably the best part of our trip. We got to ask tons of questions to the staff. Why do you add oxygen to the bag? How do you catch just the right fish? Where do you keep the fish food? What are you feeding that fish? How long do they live? They got to get a lot of their questions out with the staff, which was great!! And honestly, I got to ask some questions and learn new things, too!
fish store staff filling fish bag with oxygen

Recognizing differences
One of the tanks at the back of the store had coral in it. It didn't look as pretty as the ones in different parts of the store (under special lighting!) so we got to talk about what was different, what was the same and why!

boy looking at coral in a tank

Steps in a Process / Sequencing
We watched one staff member feed some of the tropical fish. Because she did multiple tanks we saw it first then got to talk about the steps that she was doing during the second tank's feeding. We asked questions (more questions!) about how often and what they eat!
fish store staff feeding the tropical fish

Talking about real vs. imagination
This was an interesting part of our discussion today! There is a giant shark mural on the outside wall. We talked about how this was painted and not real, it was not a picture of a real shark and we pointed out the painted areas. It's hard to describe how I know when something is a drawing versus when it is a picture.So pointing out those key features of an illustration was fun!

mural of shark on fish store wall

One of the things I didn't get a picture of was a Ghost Shrimp. They are see-through and we were able to use our reasoning skills to figure out what was inside some of the shrimp but not in others (it was food). You could see little pellets in their stomachs! It was crazy cool! We talked about our digestive system and how once we swallow it we can't see the food any more. But you can with these little guys!

The fish store can be a great place to have fun, see cool things and develop language skills while you are there!!

fish in a tank  with information that leads to a blog post about using a fish store field trip to build speech and language skills

Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Please know that I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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