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Holiday speech and language activities

It's nearly the holidays! Maybe you've gotten through the school year, knowing that your child needs some extra language work? Maybe, her vocabulary needs to improve? Or her sentence structure? The holidays are a great time for all that extra catch-up work. How to make the most of your holidays? We're sharing some ideas here with you.

Build speech and language activities into your everyday routine. Speech and language activities begin with talking to your child. As you go about your day (whether cleaning or dusting or cooking) talk to your child about what you are doing. Keep your sentences small - and make sure that you use the words you want your child to learn.

Games like 'I spy..' do not need any additional resources - just use whatever you have around your home. You can play these with your child as you cook or clean! It's multitasking at its finest! Change what you spy depending on your child's level of development. For early learners, you can describe objects by function. ('I spy with my eye, something you can eat with.') If you want to push this up in terms of difficulty, describe objects using adjectives, even multiple adjectives. ('I spy with my eye, something red', or 'I spy with my eye, something red and shiny'.) If your child is learning to read, describe words using their phonic components. ('I spy with my eye, something that begins with ss..' or 'I spy with my eye something that ends with'.)

If you're going to have just a quiet holiday season, build in all those fun games that you've not had the time to do over the school term. Look here for ideas.

If you're travelling over the holidays, why not try these travel games? At each station (if you're taking the train) try and guess what you might see at the next station. You might see a coffee stand, a flag, a lady in a red saree. Guess and see who was right! Or for a younger child, make a list of things you are likely to see along the way with little pictures alongside it - mountains, sun, cows, the sun etc. Tick these off as you find them. If your child is learning to read, get your child to spot letters of the alphabet on shop boards as you drive along. If your child is even older, play a story building game - each person takes turns adding to a story.

If you're going to have a busy holiday season, don't stress yourself. As far as possible, keep speech and language activities to what you can do as part of your everyday routine. Remember that if you have guests, your child now has loads of people to play with and learn from. (Language is a social skill - it needs human interaction to start and develop.) Make the most of your guests!

Check out our range of flashcards. They lend themselves to lots if interesting games. You can find more ideas here.

(If your child has a speech and language delay itself, please consult with a speech and language therapist. Don't wait, hoping for the problem to go away. Early diagnosis and intervention is key to good results.)

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