So winter is here and Im sure you are all busy shopping and getting ready for the holidays! This is the best time of year for speech and language therapy in my opinion! I often get asked, What can I do with my kids during the Christmas break? Everything about winter is exciting for children; the snow, the holidays, hot chocolate and tobogganing. There are so many fun things to talk about, but few things are more exciting than a snowman!
Here are few activities to do during the Christmas break that are meant for wintertime learning!
CHRISTMAS BREAK IDEAS
Expressive & Receptive Sequencing
Tell or read the story of Frosty the Snowman. Christmas break is a great time to read this famous story to your kids. Ask your child to retell the story in their own words, or ask them questions about the story such as, what made the snowman come to life?
Bring a hat and have the children pretend they are coming to life, just like the snowman. This activity is adaptable for children with varying levels of expressive language goals. For children with limited abilities, use word strips (see below) and carrier phrases to help. A child with more advanced goals will be able to come up with their own phrases and ideas after your model.
I am a snowman, I am
Made of Snow
I am a snowman, I have
A carrot nose
Talk about how to make a snowman with your child. This is great for children working on expressive language skills, and is also great for sequencing. First, you take a large ball of snow for the bottom. Next you roll a medium sized ball of snow for the middle, and then a small ball of snow for the head and so on. You can further have the child draw a snowman and colour the nose, scarf, and hat after you talk about the steps.
Now its time to put those expressive language skills into action! Your child will have a great time building their own snowman. This activity is easy to tailor to their goals. First you can show them how to make a snowman while modeling desired expressive language or sequencing goal. Then they can show you while using their language skills.
Hands On Activity for Descriptive Language
Get a large bowl and fill it with snow from outside, or blend ice cubes in the blender until it looks and feels like snow. From here the therapy outcomes are endless!
Build a tiny snowman, right there in your kitchen! Have the child play in it, just like they would with sand and describe how it feels. (You might need to use a cookie sheet and have towels close by).
Hide little toys in it and ask them to search for them, using carrier phrases such as I found a car or I found an eraser.
This is a fun and memorable activity! If you are arent up for bringing the snow inside then get all bundled-up and head outside!
Use the snowman drawing as reinforcement for targeted sounds. For example, if your child says the targeted sound at the phoneme, word, phrase or sentence level 10 times, they get to begin to draw a snowman.
Read the Frosty the Snowman book or tell the story aloud. As you do, intermittently mispronounce the students target sound. When your child catches you, he or she can ring a bell.
Using the snow idea above, have your child sculpt the target sound from the snow, then practice saying it.
Get a large scarf and lay it out flat on the kitchen table. Place picture or word cards inside the scarf as you fold it up like an accordion. The scarf will be full of words, and gently hand it to your child. As your child slowly unwraps the scarf one fold at a time, he/she can use ta carrier phrase I found a ____in the scarf. This activity can be tailored to your childs goals, but is especially great for children working on sounds in phrases or sentences.
MORE CHRISTMAS BREAK IDEAS
Lego Lego Lego Time!
Who doesnt love Lego?! Nowadays, girls and boys have fun with Lego! Christmas break is a great time to have fun with Lego! If your kids love Lego just as much as the kids I know you will definitely enjoy this activity! You can make Lego pieces out of Jell-O by purchases Lego ice cubes trays from your local craft store, Walmart or online. When you have completed the activities below your kids can enjoy a special treat and eat them too! If you cant find the trays you can do most of the activities listed below with regular Lego pieces and still have fun!
Sort Lego by Colour and Shape
The children can be taught the colours of the Legos and then teach others how to sort them.
Teach Same Vs. Different
Teach your children to describe the blocks and decide which 2 or more blocks have the same or different features. The key feature that differentiates the blocks from each other would be the shape, size and colours.
Describe the Legos by talking about their colours, size, shape, how they smell and feel.
Teach Verbs & Verb Tenses
If you make the Jell-O you can introduce the following verbs:
- Stir, pour, mix, liquefy, spill, separate, stirring/stirred, poured/pouring
Make a mountain with the Legos and then ask your child to follow directions such as, Place the robot
- On top of the mountain, beside the mountain, below the mountain, jump over the mountain
Quickly, slowly, gently
Follow 1 or 2 Step Directions
Mix up the shapes and then pour them out. Have your children:
- Give you different colours, sizes, or amounts of bricks
- Stack specific bricks in certain ways
- Put certain bricks in front of or behind or to the side of each other (works as a preposition activity at the same time)
Your child can help describe the steps that you needed to do to make the Jell-O. You can further take this activity and teach concepts such as, First, Next and Last or asking Wh-questions.
ENJOY CHRISTMAS BREAK AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS!
Amy Grossi is a pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist, practicing for over 10 years. Amy enjoys the area of early language, literacy development, apraxia and fluency. She has a passion for working with children with multiple developmental needs and implementing creative and interactive treatment sessions.