Cozy Winter Activities to Foster Expressive/Receptive LanguageJanuary is a great time to cozy up inside with some fuzzy socks, blankets, candles, and a bowl of warm soup.
Family movie-night is a great way to challenge your child’s receptive language skills while snuggling up indoors. To target receptive language skills, pause the movie every 20 minutes or so to discuss it together with your child. Have them summarize what happened in the movie so far, make predictions/inferences, discuss character perspectives, and ask questions. Ask them to recall the sequence of events (e.g., what happened, first, then, next, last) See if they can identify any problems, solutions, or underlying meanings/messages from the movie. When the movie is over, ask your child what they liked and didn’t like about the movie, and make a plan for your next family movie night!
Guessing games are an excellent way to promote your child’s understanding and use of WH-questions (e.g., who-what-where-when-why), categories (e.g., food, clothing, animals), and a variety of sentence structures. Guessing games can be played informally while on-the-go (e.g., “Can you guess what animal I’m thinking of?”), or through more structured board games such as Code Names, Guess Who, and HedBanz. For younger kiddos, you can model the questions for them before they ask them, as well as modifying the game to make sure they have a chance to practice their skills (e.g., That’s right; it was a bird! Which category would a bird fit in: food, clothing, or animal?).
There is a variety of interactive winter crafts that you can do as a family to engage your child’s language skills at home. Pinterest and blogs are great places to find easy winter craft ideas. For younger children, have them help you make a list of the items you’ll need for the craft (e.g., scissors, paper, glue, beads). Then encourage them to describe the steps of the activity using colors, numbers, sequencing (first, next, last), and prepositions (in, on, next to). For higher-level language tasks, have your child use past-tense verbs to explain what each family member did during the activity (e.g. Dad cut out the paper into big squares, but Mom folded the paper instead). When everyone has completed the craft, have your child create a story with the pictures using the prompt: “Once Upon a Time.”