The holiday season is in full swing! As many of us spend this Christmas season decorating, rushing off to gatherings, and shopping for our Christmas presents, we may find there is little time for any other activities. We find ourselves spending all of our spare time jetting off to Christmas programs and parties during the week and hoping to squeeze in a few minutes of gift wrapping on the weekend. By the time we are able to hit the pause button on our to-do list, we may feel a little less “Holly Jolly” and a little more like the Grinch. Despite this busy time of the year, it is important to continue to find opportunities to get our little ones using their words as much as possible. Finding new and exciting ways that our children may be able to label new objects, follow simple directions, and engage in basic social routines allows for growth and development in new skills. Here are a few ways to integrate language development into your Christmas season while making memories with your child!
- Spatial Awareness with the Christmas Tree Is your child eager to help out with decorations? Take the opportunity to practice spatial directions! Spatial concepts help our child define the relationship between us and objects, as well as the relationships of objects to each other. Some basic early directions to use while decorating the tree could be in front of, behind, top, bottom, over, under, and between.
- Following directions with Christmas cookies/recipes. Making treats for Christmas? Let your child practice basic commands such as “give me the egg” and “put in the chocolate chips.” This is an easy way to build their ability to follow directions. Be sure to use lots of pointing and gestures to help them out!
- Decorating and writing Christmas letters. Let your child be a part of writing Christmas letters and work on early literacy skills. Point out the letters of the alphabet on the cards as well as reading aloud words to your child.
- Greetings with family members and friends. When gathering with friends and family, encourage your children to use greetings with family and friends. Show your child when to wave “hello” and “goodbye” and encourage the adults to be patient as you practice these skills!
- Naming objects when Christmas shopping. Make a Christmas-themed scavenger hunt while Christmas shopping and encourage labeling with your child. Point out objects from your list and ask “what’s that?” as you go. This is a great opportunity to introduce new words as well!
- Colors with a gingerbread house. Work on identifying AND labeling colors with a gingerbread house! While either decorating a real one or using a coloring sheet, present your child with lots of colors to choose from and ask them to pick specific colors from the group. Review the colors at the end and have them name them for reinforcement!
- Use literacy to answer basic questions. Reading your favorite books this year? While reading your stories to your child, encourage them to look at the pictures and answer questions about the story. What color is Santa wearing? What’s this Reindeer’s name?
- Labeling actions with Elf on the Shelf! Our favorite Elf on the Shelf can help us learn our verbs! Each day, ask your child, “what is the elf doing?” Write down the action words and use them to review later on. Take pictures of the elf in action and review using the written action words to match the pictures!