During the holiday season, many families have the pleasure of spending time together, increasing their daily family time. There are many fun family activities that you and your child can do to promote their cognitive development.
Winter scavenger hunt: Create a winter themed scavenger hunt around your home and outdoors.
- This is a great way for children to work on their picture concepts, matching skills, and helps them in making associations.
- Indoor Hunt: Hide items around your home related to winter and have your child find them (e.g. hat, coat, gloves).
- Outdoor Hunt: Talk about the different things your child might see while walking outdoors during the winter (e.g. snow, snowmen, shovels). Go on a “hunt” to find these items while spending time outdoors.
Organization/ laundry: Have your child help you organize your home and take care of daily chores.
- This is great for categorization of colors or sizes.
- Learning where items go around your home will help further develop spatial relationship knowledge.
- Turn this into guessing game around your house.
- Narrate what you are doing and have your child join along: “Hmm, I wonder where I should put away Jon’s toys.”
- Make a mistake and have your child catch/correct it: “I should put the pillows away on the kitchen table.”
Singing songs: Singing songs is a great way to work on your child’s engagement and imitation songs.
- Using songs that your child has interest in will help maintain their attention span and further work on their engagement and imitation skills.
- Sing together: Listen to music around the house and in the car. Select music that your child shows interest in. Model singing and dancing along with the music.
- Finger play songs with gestures (i.e. “If You’re Happy and You Know it”, “Wheels on the Bus”, “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”): Model gestures for the song and encourage your child to imitate the gestures. Use hand over hand assistance if needed to help your child imitate the gestures.
Pin up pictures: Put pictures around your child’s room or in your home to practice picture identification.
- This activity helps your child work on word associations and improve memory.
- You can pick pictures of your family (especially those that you will see during the holiday season) or your child’s favorite things (e.g. favorite toy, blanket, food item).
- First go around the house and label the pictured items for your child (i.e. “Look, there is a picture of your train set.”). Point to the pictures while labeling them out loud, then start asking your child to label the pictures themselves.
- Turn it into a game! After you feel your child can identify specific pictures ask your child to retrieve specific ones.
Winter crafts: Arts and crafts are a great way to engage with your child in creative ways. These activities help them practice their fine motor skills, their color concept knowledge, and their concept knowledge.
- Talk about the characteristics of the paint (e.g. the color, temperature).
- Work on color identification. Label the colors for your child and have them work on labeling them independently.
- Work on number identification. Count the cotton balls with your child. Have your child work on giving you “one” cotton ball at a time.
- Ice paint: Put food coloring into an ice tray with water and a popsicle stick. Freeze the “paint”. Once frozen, take tray out and have your child paint with it on paper
- Painting the snow: Use food coloring and a spray bottle. Fill the spray bottle with a few drops of food coloring and water. Take the snow paint outdoors and have them spray the snow.
- Cotton ball snow man: Draw the outline of a snow man on a piece of paper for your child. Have them glue cotton balls inside the snowman to make it look like snow.
Have a great winter season!
Rachel Weiser, MS, DT