Tips & Activities

Chatty Child™ will provide seasonal suggestions for you to incorporate into your daily life to improve speech and language development in your child.

Winter Activities

  • Snow Activity Tip - Place snow in a bucket and hide different pair of mittens and gloves.  The child has to find the matching pairs by pulling it out the snow. This activity can be completing after reading Snow or The Snowy Day books.  
  • Bear Activity - Make a brown bear puppet out of a small brown paper bag using buttons, strings, pasta and other odds and ends found around the house.  Explain that brown bears hibernate or “sleep” in the wintertime. Create a cave for the bear using an old shoebox.  Decorate the shoe box using crayons, paint or glitter.   You can complete this activity after reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear.
  • “Simon Says” – works on following directions, identifying body parts, action words, and gross motor skills. This is a great game to play when you are stuck indoors.  
  • Hide and Seek Exercise - Hide an object (toy, ball, stuffed animal) and ask the child to find it and describe where he/she found it.  For example, under the chair, on top of the table, next to the dresser.  This works on  building vocabulary and understanding of spatial concepts.
  • Mirror Game - With a partner (a parent, older sibling, or caregiver) take turns copying the movement of the other person exactly. Have children mimic the poses of different movements and body positions.. This game helps children develop body awareness.


OT WINTER ACTIVITIES

Pillow Roll
Using firm pillows or couch pillows line them up on the floor to form a long line. Have your child line down on the floor perpendicular to the pillow line. Trying to keep arms close to the body and legs together, have your child log roll down the line of pillows.

Wheel Barrel Play
Support child at hips, thighs, shins or ankles (depending on his/her arm strength) and have your child walk in his/her hands. Make it more fun by turning it into a game. Place a puzzle at one end of the room and the pieces of the puzzle at the other end of the room. Have your child put a puzzle piece into his/her pocket then wheel barrel walk over to the puzzle to put it in the proper slot. Either wheel barrel walk back or find a different way to get back to the pieces (skip, march, tip toe, crawl, roll, etc.). Repeat until the puzzle is completed.

Snowman
Parent or child cut out 3 different size circles and glue them on a piece of paper in the order (small, medium and large) to create the snowman shape. Pull apart cotton balls using both hands. Encourage child to use a tripod style grasp to pull cotton balls apart (thumb, pointer finger and middle finger do the work and ring/ pinky fingers tuck into the palm of the hand). While pulling cotton balls apart parent can gently tickle child’s face and arm for added tactile input (this will depend on your child’s tolerance level). Once all the cotton is apart use squeezable glue to cover the snowman shape and cover with cotton. Feel free to add eyes, nose, mouth and buttons using beans, cheerios, or stickers.

Oobleck
This is a beloved part of Dr. Seuss’ book Bartholomew and the Oobleck. Bartholomew must save the kingdom from the sticky green substance falling from the sky, known as Oobleck (a corn starch and water mixture).

This is a messy project but the cleanup is fairly easy. Mixing water, corn starch and a few drops of food coloring makes a unique substance that acts like a solid and a liquid. It is great for fine motor strengthening and delivers a great sensorial experience.

What you need:

  • Cornstarch (available at the grocery store)
  • Water
  • Deep flat pan
  • Measuring cups
  • Mixing spoon
  • Newspaper to cover table
  • Tempera paint or food coloring
  • Optional: add beans, small toys or use spoons to promote different grasps and sensory experience.

Start with 1.5 cups of cornstarch to 1 cup of water. You may have to tweak these amounts to get the perfect mixture. Pour the cornstarch into a large mixing bowl and slowly add the water. The mixture should feel kind of like honey and tears a bit when you run your hands across the top. You will have to experiment with more or less cornstarch or water until you get the right mixture. If you want to color your Oobleck add some tempera paint or food coloring.

Winter Book Suggestions

  • Snow by Roy McKie
  • The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Eric Carle
  • Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise and P.D. Eastman

 

Additional Seasonal Activity Recommendations

SmartPhone & Tablet App Suggestions

For Speech and Language Development, we like:

Also, check out this great segment that aired on CBS 60 Minutes for other recommendations:

  • Apps for Autism
    Autistic people whose condition prevents them from speaking are making breakthroughs with the help of tablet computers and special applications that allow them to communicate, some for the first time. Lesley Stahl reports.

We welcome play and learning suggestions from parents and caregivers – please send them along by email.

Happy learning!

Books for Parents

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Raising Kids on the Spectrum: 101 Inspirational Stories for Parents of Children with Autism and Asperger's  by Rebecca Dr. Landa , Mary Beth Marsden , Nancy Burrows , Amy Newmark

Thinking In Pictures: and Other Reports from My Life with Autism by Temple Grandin (for sale on Amazon.com)

The Way I See It, Revised and Expanded 2nd Edition: A Personal Look at Autism and Asperger's by Temple Grandin (for sale on Amazon.com)

For more on Temple Grandin, see an interview segment that aired on CBS 60 Minutes with Leslie Stahl:

  • Temple Grandin: Understanding Autism
    "I always wanted to meet Temple Grandin," Lesley Stahl says. "She's one of those rare people with autism who can explain autism. She's a sort of interpreter of autism for the rest of us."