Thursday, December 14, 2017

Therapy Tip: Building Language with Your Christmas Tree

It's Therapy Thursday!

You know the drill...this is the day that I share a tip based upon my experience as a pediatric speech-language pathologist and the mother of a child with special needs. Today's tip is:

4 Ways to Build Language Using your Christmas Tree

I love incorporating language goals into natural things around the home during the holidays. If you have a Christmas tree in your home, then this tip will be of interest to you. Here are 4 things you can do with your early language learner (ages 2-4 depending on the child's abilities) utilizing your family's Christmas tree.

1. Colors:
If you have different colored ornaments, decorations, or lights, you can target colors with your child. You can point to a particular color and ask the child to find the same color on the tree. ("Here's a blue light. Can you find one?") You can ask your child to point to a specific color on the tree. ("Find a green light.") Finally, you can simply talk about the different colored items on the tree.

2. Spatial Concepts:
Use items on the tree to describe where they are. Use words like on top, middle, on, under to describe the location of the items. The presents are UNDER the tree. The star is ON TOP of the tree. The lights are all AROUND the tree. The tractor ornament is in the MIDDLE of the tree. To make it harder, ask your child to tell you where specific things are to see if they will use these spatial words too.

3. Vocabulary:
If you have a lot of different ornaments on the tree, use them to build vocabulary. My tree is full of Disney characters, super heroes, holiday items like a candy cane, and more. All of these different types of ornaments can be located to build vocabulary ("Can you find the fire truck ornament?"). But, you can also point out things to the child and discuss them ("Here's a candy cane ornament. It's red and white.")

4. Answering Questions:
Ask your child questions about things on or around the tree. Think about questions you can ask that start with where, who, what, why. Where's the star? What is this ornament? What is your favorite one? If your child is saying simple sentences, ask harder questions such as: How does the ornament stay on the tree? Why do you like this ornament? How many lights do you think are on the tree?

Now go enjoy some therapy time around your tree!

Therapy Thursday is for educational purposes only and not intended as therapeutic advice. 

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