Many families go away this time of the year to celebrate the holidays, and this often results in a short break from speech therapy for your child. Luckily, it is easy to incorporate language-rich activities into your normal holiday routine!
Holiday and Winter Songs
It is hard to turn on the radio this time of year without hearing familiar holiday and winter themed tunes! Singing and listening to holiday songs is a beloved tradition in many families, so this year, invite your children to join in the fun! Try slowing down the pace of familiar songs to allow your child the time they need to sing the words along with you. Once your child knows a song well, try pausing at the end of each phrase in order to allow them to fill in the last word.
Long trips can be challenging with young children. Be sure to bring lots of books and toys in order to keep your child entertained on long road trips or plane rides. Airplanes are a great place to sit and read with your child. Have your child point to objects in pictures and engage with the book while you flip through the pages together. Remember, it is not necessary to read every word. Books with interactive components, such as “lift-the-flap” or “touch-and-feel”, tend to be favorites among young children. There are also lots of mess-free activity books currently available for young children. Crayola Color Wonder paper and markers, as well as Melissa and Doug Water Wow activity books allow your child to color away while you talk to them about the pictures and objects that they are coloring. These activities also provide a great opportunity to model color vocabulary.
If you have older children, “I Spy” is a great game to play on road trips. This simple game can keep children entertained for long stretches of time while they work on using descriptive vocabulary, and asking and answering “yes” or “no” questions. With younger children it is still possible to point out sights along the road while modeling the use of the simple phrase, “I see a___.”
Baking sweet treats is a classic holiday activity for many families. This year let your little one join in the fun. While baking, use short, simple phrases to describe what you and your child are doing. Some examples of easy phrases include: “pour milk,” “crack eggs,” and “mix, mix, mix” (while stirring batter). Baking is also a simple way to practice following directions and demonstrating simple spacial concepts like “on the cookie sheet” or “in the pan”. It is also great for size concepts like “big cookie” vs. “small cookie”, and number concepts like count eggs, cups of flour, etc.
Enjoy trying out these activities, and have a very happy holiday season!
Meryl Schnapp M.A., CCC-SLP