5 Holiday Activities to Build Your Child’s Language

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Written by Aynsley Warden

There are many great opportunities that you can take to build your child’s language skills while you are busy getting ready for Christmas. The best part is, your child is included and has fun! Here are a few ideas of things you can do with your child, while highlighting language skills:

1) Read Christmas or holiday stories with your child. Here are a few favourites:

  • “Fancy Nancy Splendiferous Christmas” by Jane O’Connor
  • “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” by Dr. Suess
  • “Dream Snow” by Eric Carle
  • “The Kvetch Who Stole Hanukkah” by Bill Berlin and Susan Berlin
  • “The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
  • “Olive the Other Reindeer” by J. Otto Seibold
  • “Bear Stays Up for Christmas” by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman
  • “Biscuits Hanukkah” by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
  • “That’s Not My Snowman” by Fiona Watt
  • “The Wild Christmas Reindeer” by Jan Brett
  • “Li’l Rabbits Kwanzaa” by Donna L. Washington

2) Decorate the Christmas tree. Talk about sizes of the ornaments you are hanging (big or little?). Talk about where to hang the ornaments (top, middle, or bottom?). Teach new words by highlighting the names of any ornaments (reindeer, Santa Claus, sled, candy cane, angel, bell, wreath, snowflake, Rudolph, etc…). Emphasize colours when hanging the lights on the tree.

3) Bake holiday cookies. Highlight new words by emphasizing the names of ingredients and kitchen utensils you use to make the cookies. Talk about the steps to follow for making cookies. Use icing and sprinkles to decorate the cookies and emphasize colour and descriptive words.

4) Make crafty ornaments to hang on the tree. Highlight new words and talk about the steps to follow when making your crafts.

  • Cut out Christmas tree shapes from green felt. Glue buttons on it. Thread and tie a string or ribbon at the top of the tree to hang it with. Materials needed:  green felt, buttons, glue, string or ribbon, scissors.
  • Collect pine cones during a walk outside near a forested area. Let them dry inside the house before painting them. Use sprinkles or glitter glue to decorate if you like. Materials needed:  pine cones, paint & paintbrush, sprinkles & glue (or glitter glue).

5) Let your child help you wrap presents or wrap presents they made. Talk about the names of things you need (scissors, tape, ribbon, etc…). Your child can practice printing, naming letters, and sounding out words when making name tags for the presents.

Remember to highlight new words by saying the word many times using emphasis. Add gestures to demonstrate what you mean and show pictures or real objects of the new words. Encourage your child to use these words on their own and to use more language by telling you the steps of activities. Most importantly, have fun!

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