I like to share winter ideas for families that build and maintain speech and language skills without adding “extra” homework and keep families engaged and having fun while targeting articulation, language, and/or fluency. Once students no longer need to work at the drill level to practice their speech and language skills, I like to provide my families with different examples of fun free or low-cost activities that they can engage in as a family to target skills in a natural context. Here are a few examples for the Winter season.
- sequencing steps and recall
- describing materials using senses
- use the playdough to create items to describe or as visuals when telling a story
- set a timer so that students are practicing self-monitoring and self-correction for specific articulation sounds or actively use fluency shaping and stuttering modification techniques while communicating while making and playing with the playdough
GO FOR A HIKE IN NATURE- Going on a hike as a family can provide inexpensive fun and a wonderful way to engage kids in communication. If your families live where it snows or is super cold, have them bring this FREE Scavenger list with them (do encourage them to bundle up). If you live where it does not get that cold or snow, the scavenger hunt can still be used by looking at magazines, books, or shows on television.
- receptive identification
- expressive labeling
- discuss weather and clothing options
- play “I spy” and have the child guess what item on the scavenger list is being described
- adjectives to describe items found/seen during the hike
- target prepositions with where the child found the item
- compare/contrast items
- give instructions on how to return to the starting point
- sequence the order for what they checked off of their scavenger list
- make requests for supplies
- sequence steps that were taken to create their crafts
- describe their snowflake or snowman in the fake snow
- tell a story about their craft
- use minitature figurines to play in the fake snow and tell a story about what is happening
READ WINTER STORIES TOGETHER OR WATCH FAVORITE WINTER SHOWS- Cuddling up with my own child while watching some favorite winter-themed shows or reading our favorite winter books are some of my favorite activities this season. We like to turn on the fireplace, make ourselves some hot chocolate, cuddle up in blankets and discuss the shows and books during and after enjoying them together.
IF YOU LIVE WHERE IT SNOWS– Encourage your families to bundle up and go play! There is so much functional language and articulation carryover that can happen while playing out in the snow!
- comparing/contrasting snowmen, a sled vs a snow tube, winter clothing, etc..
- using language to make requests for help, describe what they are doing, etc..
- explain why they chose to make a snowman vs. snow angel, sledding vs. snowball fight, etc..
- using adjectives to describe winter clothing, snow, snowman, etc..
I hope you share these ideas with your families looking for opportunities to help their children build speech and language skills. Don’t forget that families can also work on using carryover of speech sound system skills (articulation and phonology) and using fluency techniques while engaging in these fun activities.