Christmas is a magical time of year, especially for little ones who are experiencing everything for the first or second time in their lives! It can also be a busy time for parents and guardians, and time-consuming speech or language activities may take a back burner during this time of year. However, there are plenty of ways to incorporate speech and language into what you’re already doing throughout the season. Here are five easy activities to get you thinking:
1. Baking Christmas cookies: Target vocabulary such as roll, cut, squish, bake, open, mix, etc. as well as colors and shapes when cutting out cookies or decorating.
2. Sing Christmas songs together: Try letting your little one fill in the blank with a known song. Start singing “Jingle bells, Jingle bells, Jingle all the…..” then pause and see if they will fill in the next word
3. Look at Christmas lights and make a scavenger hunt to see who can find more words with their targeted speech sound: If they are working on s-blends, find snow, snowmen, something that could be a snack, skis, sleds, scarf, skate, sweater, sleigh, star, etc. If they are working on R, find Rudolph, something red, ribbon, rainbow lights, wreath, etc.
4. Decorate the Christmas tree together: Model Christmas vocabulary as you put on each ornament. Talk about
where ornaments should go. Target up/down for little ones, or more difficult prepositions for older children, such as behind, in front of, next to, on top, etc.
5. Create a calendar: Christmas can be such a busy time with visiting family and friends and lots of Christmas activities. Although these events are fun and exciting, they can be overwhelming to little ones as it is out of their routine. Help them know what to expect while working on speech and language by creating a calendar. Go over the schedule each morning at breakfast or at bedtime the night before. You can show pictures during this to build connections (for example, “We’re going to Grandma’s. Look, here’s a picture of the last time we went to Grandma’s. We made cookies and watched a movie last time. It was so much fun.”) or build in time vocabulary practice such as first/then, next, after, etc.
Hopefully, some of these are helpful or spark some additional ideas. Let us know how else you are working on speech and language during the holidays!