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After learning how to get your kids ready for winter and ways to keep active in the cold weather, this week’s blog will show you how to build your child’s vocabulary in the winter months by focusing on new words in new ways.
1. Location Words
With all the layers we wear in the winter, it’s a great opportunity to practice “on/off” and “in/out”. Just think how many times you can say the word “on” while getting dressed to play in the snow. Try this activity: Pause before putting on each piece of clothing and wait for your child to say “on”. If they don’t say it after a few seconds, you can say the word as you put on one piece of clothing. With jackets, snow pants, hats, gloves (times TWO), boots (times TWO), that’s at least SEVEN opportunities to hear/say the word “on”. Do the same activity when you come in from outside while taking items “off”.
You can work on “in” and “out” as you put all the outerwear “in” the closet or cubby after an afternoon of fun outside, or take it back “out” to build another snowman.
Other great location words to emphasize are “up” and “down”. When tobogganing, target “up” and “down” as you climb the hills and slide down. Have your child say “up” with each step up the hill. Count how many times you say the word.
2. Size Words
Building a snowman is fun at any age. Once you’ve rolled your snow balls, talk about which one is BIG, medium, and small.
Have a “friendly” snow ball fight. Make up different rules each time. For example, use only tiny snow balls one day and HUGE ones the next.
Have the entire family make snow angels. Look at them and label which ones are “big” and “small”. You can also talk about which ones are “tall” and “short”.
3. Temperature Words
Cut out pictures of winter themed words and have your child sort the pictures into “hot” and “cold”. Some ideas for words include: snow, ice, snowman, icicle, hot chocolate, fire, and soup. If that is easy for your child, you can ask them to come up with words that fit into each category without showing them a picture (e.g., “tell me different things in winter that are cold”). Explain the different temperature terms, such as freezing, cold, warm, and hot.
4. Action Words
So many activities are specific to winter and involve new and different action words. Here are some examples:
- Roll: When making a snowman, emphasize what you’re doing by repeating “roll” as you make snowballs.
- Pull/Push: When sledding, you can talk about pulling the sled up the hill and pushing it back down.
- Mix: Making hot chocolate with marshmallows is always a fun treat on a cold winter day. Have your child help you “mix” in the marshmallows. Model the word “mix” each time you drop in a marshmallow. Have your child copy the word after you say it.
- March: Put on your boots and have your own parade on a snowy day. To walk through the snow, encourage your child to “march”. Show them what this word means by exaggerating the action of lifting your knees up high and stomping your feet. Say the word “march” each time you take a step.
Whether you’re braving the cold outside or staying warm inside, winter is a great time to build your child’s vocabulary. Have fun and stay warm!