Here is another flashback post I wrote two years ago! I am always looking for new and fun ways to incorporate language into my therapy as well as into my natural setting for my own child and I have used these activities, “oldies but goodies”, which have worked so well, year after year. Enjoy!
I am writing the post because this year, as my son turns 2 1/2 yrs. old, I realized how many things we naturally do during the Christmas Holiday Season that is language-rich and an EASY way to target our child’s speech and language development at home. My focus on the Christmas holiday traditions is not to exclude other religious or cultural holidays but to write about a topic with which I am familiar. If you have some language-rich activities you do with your family for other holidays, please comment below so others can benefit from your ideas!
4. Reading Christmas Books-some of my personal favorites are How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the Polar Express, as well as Twas the Night before Christmas (of course). What great vocabulary in these books! Also rhyming (phonological awareness), making predictions and inferences, etc can be targeted and practiced. If you are religious, reading stories about the Nativity lends itself to a whole new set of vocabulary words children don’t typically hear in school (unless in a Christian school) such as “wise men, frankincense, myrrh, manger, shepherds, etc.”.
6. Catalog Shopping-going through store catalogs and/or circulars and spending time cutting out pictures of what toys your child wants and pasting the pictures onto a piece of paper (making a collage or booklet) is a GREAT activity! You get to practice cutting and pasting as well as talk about all the cool toys your child wants and why your child would like them. Some parents get nervous with this activity because they feel that if their child asks for the toy, they must then go buy it for them. But you can just explain that this is just a “wish list” and that Santa (or mom and dad if you don’t do Santa in your house) will get what he/she/they think is best. IF that is not an option for your family, you can still do this activity. Just spend some time before the activity picking and choosing the circulars that have only the toys you have or are getting your child and have your child cut pictures out of those certain circulars.
8. Writing a letter to Santa-a perfect activity to practice creating complete sentences with correct use of vocabulary, grammar and organization. You can do this in writing if your child is old enough (great to practice spelling as well) or if your child is young you can still focus on these skills by having your child verbally tell you what he/she wants to write and you can use modeling and rephrasing to demonstrate how to create complete sentences. Plus its so fun to watch them as they are talking about the things they are hoping Santa will bring them!
10. Christmas Scavenger Hunt-this is one of my very, very, very favorite activities to do focusing on vocabulary, modifiers, direction following, problem solving and so many more language and cognitive skills. I like to print out the Christmas Scavenger Hunt from Speakingofspeech.com (click the link above find your copy) and take my son to the mall or numerous stores and we use Bingo markers or stickers and mark off every time we find an object pictured! It really is a fun time! You could also drive around your neighborhoods and find these items as well if you wanted to!
A few other fun activities you can find on the internet that are great for older kiddos are telling Christmas jokes (awesome if you are targeting figurative language and understanding humor), figuring out Christmas song puzzles (great for problem solving and reasoning skills), Christmas trivia (focus on auditory comprehension and recall), and even Christmas mad libs (so great for discussing parts of speech). You can find a FREEBIE Christmas Songlibs from Sublime Speech by clicking this link. Just type these activities into your browser and some great printables will come up!
So these are my top 10 language-rich activities to do at Christmas time! What are yours? Comment below!
Happy talking and enjoy the holiday season