Brr.... It's cold outside! Here we are with another winter arriving, and many of us are forced to stay inside - this time due to the weather. That doesn't mean that we can't have fun with our kids. They love so much about winter: snow, the holidays and hot chocolate!
And we can always take the opportunity to work on our speech and language goals without compromising all of the fun.
So here are some of the Better Speech Therapists' favorite activities for winter. Many of these can be modified to target what your child is working on. If you want specific modifications, you can always send a note to our clinical director Michelle. She'll be happy to stop shoveling snow and talk about how you can use these with your kids. She's at firstname.lastname@example.org .
This is a great activity that any child would want to get involved in. It's a multi-step activity to you can target many speech goals. For now, we are focusing on sequencing. These are steps we take that make logical sense to complete a task. They can be very difficult for kids to understand or formulate on their own. Here are some ideas:
Make a plan with your child before you even leave the house. Do you have a LEGO person? Try building that simple person before you go out to build the snowman.
Verbalize the steps out loud with your child first. If your child can read, write down simple steps.
Use language concepts like "first" and “next” or “top” and “bottom.” Ask your child to point to the "top" or "bottom" of a nearby tree to see if they know what you mean.
Ask your child what they think should happen first or second. If they make a mistake, let them try it out and then problem solve to correct it. Don't fix it for them.
Let them hear your thought process. Talk out loud as you decide to make the head before you put on the eyes. Talk about why you are doing that.
A Game of Simon Says Before We Go Out
We would never want to slow you down as you are about to walk out the door. But if you have a few extra moments, here is a great activity to play before you leave. You can lay out the clothes that your child would put on (gloves, sweater, scarf, hat, coat, boots) and work on:
- Vocabulary: Understanding the names of these clothes ("give me the hat") or expressive vocabulary ("what do we put on our head?")
- Turn Taking: Take turns with your child for who gets to be Simon; everyone wants to be the boss.
- Following Directions: You can give 1-step directions ("put on your sweater"), 2-step directions ("put on your hat and your jacket"), or more complex directions ("put on your left boot and then both of your gloves")
Just because you live in a place that doesn't have snow, or even if you do and it hasn't snowed yet doesn't mean you can't play with snowballs. You can make your own with rolled up socks (white ones, or any color), or crumpled up paper. Here are some ideas for games and how you can target speech therapy goals with each one:
- Snowball Fight Vocabulary: Have an indoor snowball fight (no head shots!) while targeting verbs like: stop, go, throw, run. You can also target other vocabulary like: big (snowball), (throw it) up, two (snowballs).
- Knock ‘em Down Turn Taking: Use light weight plastic cups to build a pyramid, then roll or throw the snowballs to knock them down. You can target taking turns or counting how many cups fell. You can also ask your speech therapist to give you a list or printout of target articulation/vocabulary words and use throwing the snowballs as a reward for working on the target word.
- Snowball Relay Race: Take some wooden spoons h and race across the living room. This is a like an egg race but with pretend snowballs and you'll have no mess to clean up after! You can target following directions (stop and go when you give the direction) or vocabulary (fast/slow, "walk" across the room, "dance" across the room, adjectives e.g. "take the red snowball").
These are just a few of the ideas the Better Speech therapists have been using with kids in the past few weeks as the winter gets chilly and the fun and games move inside. No matter what your child is working on in speech therapy, your therapist can help you modify any any activity to target their goal or their level. Just ask! At Better Speech we believe that parents can be their child's best teacher and we love helping families think of activities that will help them achieve their communication goals faster.
At Better Speech we know you deserve speech therapy that works.
We have experts in your needs and assign the right therapist; not just the therapist that happens to be in your area. If you want to find out more about our services, contact us to schedule a free consultation.