26 December 2017
Language development activities work best when children are engaged and enjoy the activities. At this time of year it’s a good idea to theme some listening and spoken language games around the festive season. It is quite easy to embed some of your listening and spoken language goals into a range of activities.
The Christmas tree
We know you will have already put up your Christmas tree this year, but perhaps store this one away for next year! Or do it in reverse and do these activities when you take the tree down! The listening and language opportunities around setting up a Christmas tree are endless, and I am sure you will come up with some of your own, but here are a few to start.
Discuss with your child how to put the Christmas tree together. Put your thinking on loud speaker as you go through the setting up motions:
- “We need the biggest part first.”
- “Now we need a part that is smaller than this one, and then another one that is the smallest.”
- Discuss with your child where you will put the Christmas tree and talk about why you have chosen that spot and not right in the middle of the hall
Choose a few of your favourite Christmas decorations and take turns describing them to each other:
- “Can you find the one that is very shiny. You can find them at night in the sky, it sits up up up on the very top.”
- “Can you find one that is a person? He has a red hat and a white beard and he says ho ho ho.”
Your child will enjoy having a turn describing the decorations too. Once they are on the tree you can play “I spy with my little eye something that…” and then given the description.
When you are decorating the tree, talk to your child about the positions of the decorations; in the front, round the back, on the side, up the top, in the middle, next to the bell, under the lights.
Christmas has its very own vocabulary so don’t assume that your child knows the names of the decorations e.g. bauble or tinsel. Talk about what the decorations are and describe them.
You might make a pattern with the baubles - red and silver, red and silver. Or you might see which piece of tinsel is the longest or the shortest.
It’s always fun to decorate your child as a Christmas tree too!
Singing Christmas songs
Singing has many benefits for children, but especially children with hearing loss. It helps with their auditory memory, speech development and vocabulary development. Don’t assume that your child knows the words to Christmas carols and just listening to them being played on the stereo may not be enough to help them learn the words. Why not start teaching your child the lyrics to Jingle Bells so that they can participate in the carol singing this year?
Make gingerbread biscuits. Make biscuits of different sizes and different Christmas shapes, count them, decorate them by listening to each other and then sort them into little bags for different people. Talk about who they are for. Use the language around cooking:
- What do we need?
- First we put in the…then we put in the….
- Just a little bit, a bit more.
- Crack the eggs. Don’t let the shell go in.
- Mix mix mix, tip it out, roll it flat.
Then get your child to tell another family member how to roll out and cut out gingerbread biscuits.
Play some Christmas games
We are lucky that in 2017 the internet is awash with free downloads that can help us with activities at home. These are just a few that we thought you might like.
The great thing about these activities is that they are probably ones you will already do through the festival season, you just need to look at them with your listening and spoken language hat on!
What is your favourite Christmas activity?