As one of my preschoolers told me the other day, the weather is getting “blustery”!  Now is the perfect time to start pulling out all of those winter clothes: hats, gloves, scarves, coats, etc.  However, seeing as it has probably been several months since your child last saw these things, you may want to do some winter speech and language activities using these items to improve her communication skills.  Having a better understanding of what these things are called and how they are used will improve your child’s ability to follow directions that contain these items (such as “go get your coat”) as well as your child’s ability to use these words in sentences to request (“Can I have my gloves?”), comment (“I like your coat!”), and ask questions (“Where is my hat?”).  Check out these fun activities to improve your child’s understanding of cold-weather clothes:

Winter Speech and Language Activities #1:

Simon Says
Playing Simon Says is a great way to improve your child’s ability to understand what cold-weather clothes are called.  Your child must first understand these words before he will be able to say them.  For this activity, take turns being “Simon” and tell the other participants to put on various cold-weather clothes.  For example, you might say “Simon says put on your coat” or “Simon says put on your hat”.  You should have all of your child’s cold-weather clothes in front of him so he will have to really listen to know which item you’re asking him to put on.  Then, every once in a while, give the direction without saying “Simon says” and see if you can catch your child.  They’re not supposed to do it if you don’t say Simon Says!  When it’s your child’s turn to give directions, put on the wrong thing every once in a while and see if he can catch you.  Then, ask him what you were supposed to get instead.
Modifications: If your child is struggling with this activity, here are a few things you can do to make it a little easier:

  • Only put one or two items in front of your child if he’s unable to find the correct one from all of the items.  Start with however many choices will allow him to be successful (even if that means you only have one item in front of him) and then slowly add in more items as he gets better at it.
  • If your child doesn’t understand “Simon Says”, you can change the game to say the child’s name instead of Simon.
  • You don’t have to do the part where you don’t say “Simon Says” and try to catch your child.  You can just always include the “Simon Says” if your child gets frustrated having to listen for that part.  The goal of this activity is to teach him the names of the objects, not to listen for “Simon Says”.
  • If your child isn’t able to put the clothes on yet, you can just say “get your ___” and have him hand it to you.

Winter Speech and Language Activities #2:

Make A Scarecrow
Ok, so maybe this sounds like it would fit better with autumn speech and language activities than winter speech and language activities, but stay with me.  Scarecrows use lots of cold-weather clothes.  For this activity,  you and your child will use her winter clothing to create a scarecrow (of sorts).  Show your child a picture of a scarecrow (in a book or online) and tell her you’re going to make one.  Start from the bottom up; tell your child your scarecrow will need some boots.  Ask her to go find her boots.  You may need to go with her to help her find them if she’s not able to do this on her own.  Decide if you’re going to create your scarecrow sitting in a chair or laying the floor.  Put the boots at the bottom of wherever you decide.  Next, tell your child to find some pants for the scarecrow.  Once she brings them back to you, stuff them with towels, pillow cases, or whatever you have.  You could also leave them un-stuffed if you want.  Next, ask your child to get her coat and stuff that as well.  Continue to place these items on your scarecrow as you get them ready.  Have your child locate her gloves and put them at the ends of the arms on the coat.  Now you will need a head.  If you have any pumpkins laying around from Halloween that would work well, or you could use a ball, balloon, or anything else slightly round.  Set that on top of the coat.  Finally, your scarecrow will need a hat and scarf if you have them.  Help your child find these final touches and put them on the scarecrow.  Ta-Da!  You’ve done it!  Once you’ve done this, take a picture of your child with her scarecrow and post it to our facebook page!  I would love to see what you all come up with!

Winter Speech and Language Activities #3:

Book Activities and Going Outside!
Read a book with your child about getting dressed to go outside.  One of my favorites is Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathan Landon.  In this book, Froggy keeps forgetting to put on all of his cold-weather clothes and his mother must continually pull him back to have him put on another piece.  Amazon even has a great Story Prop with flannel-board pieces that you can use while you read the story.  These would be great for helping your child remember the names of all of the clothes.  It will also keep your child more engaged in the book.  Once you have read a book about getting dressed to go outside, it’s time to help your child get dressed and go outside as well!  Tell your child it’s time to play outside and ask your child if he can think of all the things you will need to put on to get ready.  If your child can’t think of some of them, give him clues without telling him what it’s called.  For example, you could say “We need something to keep our hands warm.  What could we put on our hands?”  If your child is really struggling to think of the word, you can say it for him, but see if he can come up with it first.

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