Now that snow is finally here, are you wondering what to do with all the wonderful white stuff? How about making use of our children’s enthusiasm for some fun and educational snow-filled speech and language learning? Read on for free speech-language activities for home, daycare, or school use!
Speech Developement (Young Child)
In this section, here are some simple but effective resources to help your preschooler model the correct production of “s” blends.
Let's look at a preschooler who literally says “no” for “snow”. This is the child exclaiming “no, no” at the first snowfall, when you know they really mean “Look at the snow!” You may not have the training and experience to directly help this child correct their speech, but there is much to be said for modeling – over and over and over! What better time to model “sn” blend words than at the beginning of winter! In fact, since omission of the “n” in the “sn” blend is likely part of the larger speech process of omitting “s” from “s” blends in words (e.g., “no” for “snow”, “ poon” for “spoon”, “ wim” for “swim”, “ top” for “stop”, “ mile” for “smile”), you can have fun bombarding your child with lots of “s” blend words (speech-language pathologists call this “auditory bombardment.”).
Reading books is a great place to start – simply say the “s” blend part of words a little louder and a little longer. For example, “Sadie and the Snowman” (Allen Morgan) is a wonderful little book for this, and it also discusses the concept of “melting.” Of course, go outside and enjoy the real snow while slightly exaggerating the “s” blend in “snow”, “snowball”, “snowman”, “stack” (the snowballs up), “smile”, etc.
One of the challenges in language development is learning how to describe an order of events or how to describe a sequence. Teaching a child to learn how to describe an order of events can be fun for everyone.
Building a snowman is a great activity to develop this sequencing skill. Use words such as “first”, “then”, and “next.” Even dressing to go outside is a sequence, and sometimes quite a time-consuming one at that! First the child puts on their ski pants, then their jacket, mitts, boots, scarf, hood/hat, etc.
You can also use the memory of an event to help a child learn to describe a sequence. When you’re building the snowman, take picture of the events as the progress. Use “feeling” words to describe the fun you have, and later review the pictures, helping the child commit the experience and associated feelings to memory.
For example, “We went sledding. We climbed up the hill. It was a loooong way up. But then we got to slide down. It was so much fun! We were going so fast, it was almost scary! I even fell off once, but I was not hurt. Nobody wanted to stop. We slid down the hill many times! By the time we were done, we were tired and cold, but we had had a great time! Then we went inside and had hot chocolate. That warmed us up quickly!”
Resources For Helping Your Child Learn Language
Sometimes it can be difficult to get ideas on how to engage a child in how to pronouce words properly or even build their vocabulary. Here are some resources to help you along the way.
by Aileen Fisher
I used to think that snow was white.
And then, I saw it blue one night.
And then, I saw it gold one day, with purple shadows and with gray.
And then, one morning it was pink.
So now I don’t know what to think.
All About Me: Verses I Can Read selected by Leland B. Jacobs (Illinois: Garrard Publishing Company, 1971. 32)
Playing in the Snow
I want to play in the snow,
So I put on my boots and hat
[PUT ON BOOTS AND HAT.]
My soft, warm, cuddly coat
[PUT ON COAT.]
Zips up the front like that!
from Marie Hibma Frost’s Preschool Teachers’ How-to Book: Action Rhymes (Chicago: Moody Press, 1973. 14)
Chubby Little Snowman
A chubby little snowman
[arms around your belly]
Had a carrot nose
[point to nose]
Along came a bunny
[fingers pointed like bunny ears…hop, hop]
And what do you supposed?
[fingers still like ears, stop hopping]
That hungry little bunny
[peer to the left]
Looking for his lunch
[peer to the right]
Ate that snowman’s nose with a
[grab carrot nose and hold to mouth]
[munch carrot… jump up with hands high on ‘CRUNCH’!]
(pg. 10 of Winnipeg Public Library’s Rhymes for Babies and Toddlers, CW1058: 2006 10)
See coloring page at http://www.dltk-holidays.com/xmas/chubbysnowmanpoem.htm.
By Kimberly Wiebe, M.Sc., RSLP, CCC-SLP
Archer, Cheryl. Snow Watch: Experiments, Activities and Things to Do with Snow. Toronto: Kids Can Press Ltd., 1994.
Cole, Joanna. The Magic School Bus to the Rescue: Blizzard. New York: Scholastic Inc., 2002.
Fisher, Aileen. “Snow Color.” All About Me: Verses I Can Read. Ed. Leland B. Jacobs. Illinois: Garrard Publishing Company, 1971. 32.
Frost, Marie Hibma. “Playing in the Snow.” Preschool Teachers’ How-to Book: Action Rhymes. Chicago: Moody Press, 1973. 14.
Morgan, Allen. Sadie and the Snowman. Toronto: Kids Can Press Ltd., 1985.
Motuz, Stephannie. “Personal Episodic Knowledge: Memory Management” Getting to Guiding (for Professionals), 24 November 2014, Rehabilitation Centre for Children, Winnipeg, MB. Workshop/Course Presentation.
Prest, Ashley. “Broken Snowfall Record Stands: Environment Canada.” Winnipeg Free Press. N.p., 23 Nov. 2016. Web 24 Nov. 2016.
Winnipeg Public Library. Community Services Department. “A Chubby Little Snowman.” Rhymes for Babies and Toddlers. CW1058: 2006 10. 10.