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Winter Activities to Encourage Speech & Language Development

Whether you are looking for some things to do on a cold day inside, or you are ready to bundle up and head outdoors for some winter fun, you can always fit some speech and language therapy into you snow day! Here are some fun ways to enjoy the great indoors or outdoors this winter season and encourage speech and language development.

Outdoor winter activities:

Go for a winter scavenger hunt or a nature walk: Scavenger hunt for things that start with your speech sound/target sounds. Language targets: describing words: cold, icy, frozen, tall, big, windy

Sledding: either down a hill or pulled around in the sled, you can work on verbal requesting or signing “go/more/stop/please” and verbal phrases ie “123- GO!/ready, set, GO”. Descriptive language: “Do you want to go FAST or SLOW?”.

Zoo trip: Take a chilly trip to your local zoo – the animals are usually out and about in the cooler temps! Your practice/target words for speech can be letters on signs that you see or in animal names. Language targets: verbal labeling animals, answering WH questions, descriptive language

Indoor activities:

Cotton Ball Snow Ball Toss: Set up Solo cups in any design on the floor or a table and hand out a set number of cotton balls to take turns tossing into the cups. You can either write numbers for points on the cups OR can use this activity as more of speech sound drill play. Example: “Ok we are going to say one of your speech words every time before we take our turn to throw!/We have to say 3 of your speech words and then you get to throw your snowballs!”

Cotton Ball Snow Bowling: make a mountain by stacking solo cups in a pyramid, placing cotton balls on top of cups. Use any ball (or cars/trucks for my vehicle fans out there!) to roll into the pyramid. I have my patients say their words before taking their turn or use it to practice any of their language therapy goals like verbal requesting (my turn/I do/more roll/go car etc.)

Play-Doh Snowman: I love to use Play-Doh in my therapy sessions to model language such as action words (roll, smash, push, open), location/prepositions (put in/take off/take out/put on), body parts/clothing items (i.e. Snowman needs eyes! Let’s give him a hat!”), or exclamatory words and/or sound effects (i.e. woa! bam bam, rolllll, cool!).

Snow Pan/Bowl Activity: Too cold to go out? Bring some snow in! Use a baking pan or bowl to scoop snow into and bring inside (place down towels or plastic tablecloth). Use kitchen utensils or cups. Language targets: stir, scoop, pour, cold, icy, wet, yuck! fill it up, you do/I do, my turn, snow. S blends: snow, spoon, stir, stop– free website with fun winter activities like Make a Snowman. Language- verbally request each body part/clothing item. Speech- say a word then pick an item to put on your snowman

Online stopwatch snowman game: Set the timer on the website and use as an open ended reinforcer activity/motivator to target any of your speech or language goals. Today I used it for counting/number comprehension, S blends (start, snowman, #1 snowman, my snowman), initial /g/ in “ready, set, GO” phrase

– Megan Kuussalo, M.S. CCC-SLP