Snow has recently graced the South and everyone was pretty overjoyed with it on day one. By day 3, many parents were taking to Facebook to ask what to do to entertain their kids when they were done playing in the snow. We came up with some fun ideas of what to do with your kiddos should you be stuck inside for a few days with cold or snowy weather. These activities are all fun, but also target speech and language skills
Do you want to build a snowman?
Building a snowman is great fun, but also opens up a great opportunity to teach language skills. I love this activity for teaching sequencing, body parts and clothing items to young children. You can teach your kids how to sequence by saying, first lets make the bottom ball, next the middle ball and last the smallest ball on top. Next you can discuss how to decorate the snowman with eyes, nose, a mouth and arms. You can then add a hat, scarf and clothes if you want to get really fancy. Let your kids add the body parts and clothing items and see if they are able to put them in the correct places. Help them if they aren’t sure and talk about where the body parts and clothing items go. You can also talk about the sizing of each ball and have them identify them largest to smallest.
Food Coloring Snow Spray
This is kid approved and a favorite snow day activity. If you have food coloring, fill up a spray bottle with water and add some food coloring to it. This is most fun with multiple spray bottles, so you can have a variety of colors. Let your kids spray the snow with the different colors. They can make a picture or just simply spray away. You can talk about the different colors, shapes and pictures they are creating. You can also make it into a game: “Everyone run to the blue circle.” or "Who can make a square shape?" This targets expressive and receptive vocabulary as well as following directions.
Snow Tupperware Play
If your kids are like my kids, they love to play in the snow for short increments. They don’t want to keep on their gloves, they’re too cold and they want hot chocolate are just a few of the reasons they wanted to come in from the snow. They were interested in the snow, yet they didn’t want to stay out long. Putting snow into plastic bins was a great compromise for all. The kids still got to play in the snow, but we didn’t have to spend thirty minutes putting on snow gear. It was a win for all. I buried plastic animal figurines in one bin and various toy vehicles in another. The kids loved finding and digging out each of the toys. This is a great activity for naming items expressively or asking them to find a certain item to assess receptive vocabulary. This activity can encourage speech and language skills at a variety of levels. My four year old daughter made her bin into a snowy tundra and built her animals ice caves. She talked about what they ate and how they lived. She really enjoyed sorting her animals into cold weather animals and warm weather animals. It was a great opportunity to practice storytelling and answering “wh” questions. My son who is a year and a half had more fun finding items in the snow. I would ask him to identify each one. If he didn’t independently name them, I would model the words and encourage him to imitate. I also asked him to receptively identify items and colors by pointing. For example, I would say, “Point to the blue car.” or “Can you find the fire truck in the snow?” He also loved driving his cars through the snow. We made car noises and talked about how the snow was cold and wet. There are tons of language activities you can target on a snowy day with Tupperware bin play.
Shaving cream play
Most of us cringe at the thought of the mess that could be made with shaving cream. Although it can be messy, there is also great fun to had. If you are worried about the mess, throw your kiddos in the tub and let them have a field day. You can join in by drawing different shapes and pictures then having them guess what they are. If you have an older kiddo you can draw letters or words and have them practice their letter recognition and sight words. Add some food coloring to make different colors to make the painting even more fun. This can also work well on glass shower doors. The play possibilities are endless here as you can let them create unique masterpieces. You can make your own version of Pictionary. This gives you the opportunity to discuss a variety of vocabulary including colors, shapes, and sizes. If your child is working on developing a certain speech sound, draw things that have that sound in it then encourage them to imitate. For example, if they are working on the /b/ sound, draw a ball or boat to expose them to the sound and give them to opportunity to practice.
Hide and Seek
Hide and seek is a game we're all familiar with, but if you’ve ever played with a toddler you quickly realize that they don’t quite understand how the game is played. My daughter used to just cover her face and think she was hidden or when she got a little older she would tell me, “I’m going to hide in your closet.” This is a great time to teach them how to play and also target following directions and teaching position concepts. You can introduce these concepts by hiding toys around the house and helping them to find them. Get small toys such as animal figurines or toy cars and hide a few of them within a room. You can build their awareness of positional words by asking them, “Is the cat under the couch or on top of the table? Show them what under is by looking under the couch yourself. You can target following directions by giving them commands such as, “First look behind the table and then check beside the chair.” If they are unable to follow the directions independently, model following the directions for them, so they can learn from watching you.
We hope these activities have given you some good ideas for the next snow day or when it’s just too cold to play outside. Remember, the most important thing you can do is just have fun with your child. So curl up together with some hot chocolate and try out some of these activities. Be sure to let us know if you do try them and how they worked for you and your family!