Winter is cold. It’s dreary. In the south, it takes way too long to get to spring! (Can you tell I don’t care for winter?) But the good thing is winter does lend itself to some pretty fun sensory activities that promote language! There’s just something about playing a bin of snow (fake or real), the smell of peppermint scented playdough or waddling around like a penguin that just gets a child talking!
Snowy Sensory Bin
I made this sensory bin to use with my speech clients a few weeks ago. I have several little ones (toddler age) as several who have severe allergies to food. That would be why our bin is full of cotton balls! It’s easy to clean up and I buy the plastic bins with lids (to make storing easy!) You could easily replace with polar bears and penguins. But my kiddos were working on naming animals so I chose more common zoo animals. With this little bin, you can target several different concepts with your child! “In,” “out”, “cold,” are just a few concepts. Once your child starts playing in it, their focus shifts from “working/school work” to play! They totally forget they are still learning and talking!!! Major parent score!!
Waddle like a Penguin, Crawl like a Polar Bear
Winter tends to keep the kiddos inside for long periods of time. We don’t want them outside getting cold and sick! They don’t want to be outside either! So get moving inside. Set up an obstacle course using chairs, end tables and any other furniture! Build “polar bear caves” with blankets. If you have a blue blanket, pretend it’s super frigid water! Get creative and have fun with it!!! As the kids go through the obstacle course, talk about it. “Oh, you are swimming through the cold water! as they go across the “water.” As the child goes in the cave, talk about the concepts of “in” and “out.” The kids can waddle through the course like a penguin or crawl like a polar bear! When they get finished with the course, they’ll probably be hungry so reward them with some penguin food (Goldfish crackers!!). You will stimulate so much language building the course and completing it! Again, the kids will forget that they are learning.
Little Bins for Little Hands has a great slime recipe! Kids love slime, silly putty and playdough! Make this slime at home and get the kids involved. Cooking tends to naturally promote language. Kids have to ask questions to get things they need. They need to know how much of an ingredient to use so they ask mom or dad.
Songs for Promoting Language
Music is a great way to promote language, especially for little ones! Teaching Mama has some really cute winter themed songs. Don’t think the little chants and songs are just for a circle time! You can use them around the house with your little ones all day long. If they don’t have dances incorporated, make up your own.
Winter Sensory Bottle
This is another great idea from Little Bins for Little Hands. Make a snowman sensory bottle with your kids! As you make the bottle with them, talk about what you are doing. Have the kids talk about what they are doing. Making a craft or food is a great way to promote language.
I hope I have given you several ideas to keep the kids warm but busy!! What else do you like to do inside when the temps are freezing outside!