The holidays are the perfect time to take a break from our routines. Enjoy the magic of our winter-wonderland of snow this December and create some cozy family times together. By spending quality time with your child you encourage their communication development.
At Grow Speech & Language Therapy we truly value having the opportunity to support your child’s speech and language growth throughout the year and to be part of a team with you.
Here are some ideas for winter activities that promote speech and language learning and embrace the winter theme:
2. Create a winter craft: There are so many fun craft ideas that you can do with your child over the winter holidays. You can make a melting snowman, create winter-themed puppets using recycled carboard, or decorate gingerbread houses (try using graham crackers). Crafts are great for: Sequencing (first, then, next, last); Requesting (Can I have the gold paint please?; and Planning – what will it look like when it’s done?; what do we need to do to make this craft?; what supplies do we need to get ready for the craft? It’s fun to get creative and see how each person’s craft looks a little different.
3. Play games: Games give an opportunity to practice social interactions- take turns, problem solve and follow instructions (or make up and share new ones)! A few popular games at the clinic this December have been: "Don’t Break The Ice" (take turns hitting the ice block but don’t let the penguin fall. Penguin pile-up - a cooperative game where you see how many penguins you can balance on an iceberg. “Santa, Cookie, Elf, Candy, Snowman” . Say the words in the same order as you take turns slapping down the cards. When the word you said matches the card – time to be the fist to slap to collect the deck!
4. Make a winter-themed sensory bin. This is really fun! You can get some things from the dollar store – cotton ball "snow", coconut shavings jewels, tinsel, sparkly pompoms, anything that is safe for your child to explore with their hands (if you know they will not put this in their mouth). Put in some characters like dinosaurs or their favourite figurines. Make up stories with your child about the characters' snowy adventures. Encourage lots of imaginative play.
5. Bake some tasty treats: Baking is a great activity to do with children as it involves following a plan, sequencing various steps, using vocabulary, and following instructions. It’s very motivating to taste things along the way. Plus, who doesn't love the warm and comforting aroma of cookies, cakes, and other treats baking in the oven? Here are some sourdough cinnamon rolls made by our Admin Assistant, Roza.
6. Sing holiday and winter songs: Singing is a fun and interactive way to practice language skills through repetition, rhyme and gesturing along to the music. Try playing freeze dance with your child’s favorite music - you can find favourite songs on YouTube. At the clinic, "Rudolph", "Jingle Bells" and "Frosty the Snowman are popular. Bells and shakers are simple instruments add to the music. Get together with friends and family and sing all together. What are your favourite songs?
7. Get outdoors and enjoy some of the holiday events in the city: Some free or low-cost favourites include: Burnaby Village Museum-Heritage Christmas, Coquitlam-Lights at Lafarge, Vandusen Gardens-Festival of Lights, or Ice Skating at the Shipyards. Go sledding, build a snowman, or make snow angels. Take pictures on your phone and later look at the pictures and talk about these fun experiences with your child or encourage them to tell others about what they did. It’s great to practice telling personal narratives (stories about ourselves) where you can encourage your child to let the listener know where they were, what they did, and how they felt about it (e.g. We had so much fun!). Here is a picture of Deb's daughter, Sylvia enjoying the lights at Vandusen Gardens this December, and Carla's daughter's Teagan & McKenna goofing around with their snowman.
We hope you make some magical memories with your children and loved ones this holiday season. Grab some cozy blankets, put on your warm winter gear, and have lots of fun this holiday season. We look forward to hearing all about your holidays when we see you in the New Year!
The Grow Team
Carla Monteleone & Deborah Carter own and operate Grow Speech and Language Therapy in Vancouver, BC