The holidays can be a challenging time. Keeping the children entertained can be exhausting and it can be tempting to let the iPad or the TV do the babysitting. But there are still plenty of fun and easy activities your little ones can do these holidays which will encourage their language development. One of the easiest activities is to set up a backyard scavenger hunt. This simply involves giving your child a specific object to find in the park or backyard. You can help develop their auditory memory by giving increasingly long or increasingly specific instructions. You can turn it into a competition and develop their understanding of describing words by asking them to find the smallest rock, the prettiest flower or the smoothest stone. What would your children love to hunt for these holidays?
If you’re going on a trip these holidays, why not make a travel journal to remember the trip? This is a great opportunity for your little ones to reflect on all the new experiences and to share the parts of the journey that have appealed to them the most (even if that is the McDonalds toy they received!). To encourage your child’s storytelling and sentence structure development, get them to draw a picture of something they did that day and offer to write a description for the picture. If their explanation is vague, ask some open ended questions to develop their answer. If their description is rambling, help them to think about what happened first, next and last. We promise you won’t regret spending time on a travel journal.
Christmas is a time for giving and generosity, however from our kids perspective, it can often seem like a time only for receiving! So this year, why not get them involved in a project like Operation Christmas Child or the Kmart Wishing tree. This is an opportunity to explain and show your children what ‘generosity’ means. At the same time, you can introduce related words like ‘charity’, ‘giving’ and ‘receiving’. If they’re old enough, why not involve them in choosing the gift and wrapping it? Encourage them to think about who they are buying for and not to just pick something they want!
Invite your little ones into the kitchen
Gingerbread is remarkably easy to bake and super fun to decorate. You can buy ready made houses and stick them together to decorate, or you can make the dough yourself and then cut any shapes you would like. A variety of star cookies stacked atop one another make a good Christmas tree! Cooking with your child always presents good opportunities to build their language. There’s lots of specific vocabulary used in cooking, words like ‘sifting’, ‘icing’ and ‘bake’ to teach your young one. Cooking also gives opportunities for your child to practice following instructions and sequences. While you’re decorating, it’s tempting for little ones to slap icing everywhere! Encourage them to think ahead and imagine what they would like it to look it. Ask them what they will do first and what they will do next. Then encourage them to stick to that plan! It’s OK if they get a little carried away towards the end! Icing is great fun, after all!
Written by Bec,
Newcastle Speech Pathology