On the top is a picture of a winter sensory bin with the winter sensory bin handout. Underneath black text on a white background reads "three language-rich activities for winter".

Three Simple Language-Rich Activities for Winter

As Speech and Language Therapists, we understand the importance of supporting speech, language, and communication skills during everyday activities. Winter, with its unique seasonal traits, offers an excellent opportunity for creating engaging, language-rich experiences for children of all ages. In this post, I’m sharing three simple activities you can share with families to help them support their child’s early language and communication skills at home throughout winter.

Language-Rich Activities to Share in your Caregiver Coaching Sessions this Winter

1. Making Hot Chocolate

Making hot chocolate can be a delightful, sensory-rich experience for children. This activity is perfect for encouraging early language skills and easily incorporated in routine-based intervention.

Encourage the caregiver to involve their child in the hot chocolate making process – from gathering ingredients to the final stir. Use this activity to coach caregivers to model actions and new vocabulary such as ‘whisk’, ‘boil’, or ‘stir’. Encourage turn-taking by taking turns to stir the drink, or encourage gestures by providing opportunities for the child to reach and point. Coach caregivers to use strategies such as commenting, pausing, and offering choices while making the hot chocolate, too.

These Winter Themed Early Language Handouts have visuals, a hot chocolate recipe, and a handout for using language facilitation strategies while making hot chocolate at home. These are ideal for sharing with parents and caregivers after coaching sessions to encourage carryover of skills and strategies between visits.

On the left is a picture of the hot chocolate visuals, recipe, and strategies pages from the Winter early language handouts resource. On the right black text on a white background reads "making hot chocolate is a fun and tasty way to encourage language skills".

2. Winter Sensory Play

Encourage caregivers to create a simple, winter-themed sensory play activity for their child. Sensory bins, filled with items like cotton balls, small snowmen, pine cones, or shiny tinsel, provide a sensory and language-rich play experience for children.

Coach caregivers to use language facilitation strategies while engaging in sensory play with their child. For example, commenting, following their lead, and pausing. This activity provides lots of opportunities for modelling language too. While they play with their child, caregivers can model various target words, e.g., ‘snow’, ‘snowman’, ‘snowflake’, ‘cold’, etc. This can be a fun way to introduce concepts like big and small, cold and warm, or rough and smooth.

The Winter Themed Early Language Handouts include ideas for simple winter sensory play activities that caregivers can easily implement at home.

On the left is a picture of the winter sensory play handout from the Winter Early Language Handouts. On the right, black text on a white background reads "sensory play doesn't have to be complicated to be fun and engaging!".

3. Going on a Winter Walk

A winter walk is a fun and free language-rich activity for families. Coach caregivers to use language facilitation strategies such as following their lead or pausing while they walk with their child. Encourage caregivers to comment on the different winter sights, such as icicles, snowflakes, or bare trees.

These Winter Early Language Handouts include a handout for strategies you can coach caregivers to use while on a winter walk, and visuals for things you can spot during the wintertime (great for encouraging pointing!).

On the left is a picture of the winter walk strategy handouts, visuals, from the Winter Early Language Handouts resource. On the right black text on a white background reads "Going on a winter walk is a fun, free, and language-rich activity for all children!".

Fun and Effective Early Language Activity

Integrating language and communication skills into everyday activities offers a fun and effective way to support children’s language development throughout winter. These winter-themed activities provide invaluable opportunities for supporting children’s communication skills at home.
And remember, each of these activities can be tailored to fit the unique needs of each child/family.

Winter Themed Early Language Handouts

Picture of four of the handouts from the Winter themed early language handouts resource.

I hope you’ve found these three ideas for language-rich winter activities helpful. If you need more ideas for winter early language activities check out these evidence-based Winter-themed Early Language handouts. These handouts have been designed to support early intervention therapists to coach parents and caregivers to use various early language strategies in a range of engaging, low-cost, winter-based activities. A variety of ready-to-use, caregiver-friendly handouts are included within this resource.

There are 12 evidence-based language facilitation strategies included in this resource. Strategies include modelling, commenting, pausing, following their lead, linguistic mapping, and verbal routines. 16 winter activity handouts are also included in the resource. Activities include going on a winter walk, building a snowman, reading winter-themed books, and winter songs and rhymes. Visuals are also included for some activities.

These handouts are all written in caregiver-friendly terms. Share them with families after your Early Intervention coaching sessions, to support carryover of skills and strategies between sessions. Learn more about the Winter Early Language Handouts here.