Guest blog from Lisa and Tracey at Talking Tots: Turn a white Christmas into a fun communication opportunity
For most of us, snow loses its appeal somewhere around the time when we have to pay for central heating and commute to jobs in the morning. When it snows in Britain – even the lightest flurry – the trains are cancelled, the motorways grind to a halt and the house becomes impossible to keep warm.
But seeing snow through the eyes of your children can melt even the frostiest of hearts.
Usually here, on the Fylde Coast, our kids are disappointed as the snow is more likely to be sleet – but we keep our fingers crossed – just so there’s enough snow for a quick snowball fight.
One of the great things about helping develop children’s communication is that it doesn’t have to be about sitting in classrooms or looking at books. It’s possible to use fun, outdoor activities to help children’s communication.
So, here are our top 5 tips for making the most of the snow with your little chatterboxes:
1. Play ‘cold snowball’. This amended version of hot potato is simple for even young children, and helps develop waiting, turn-taking and listening skills. Everyone sits in a circle except for the ‘caller’. The group passes a snowball from player to player, until the caller shouts “STOP”. The person holding the snowball is eliminated. The winner is the last person left holding the snowball.
2. Hide a small object inside a snowball. Let the kids play 20 questions to try and guess what’s inside the snowball (for older kids, limit the questions to ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions). This is a great way to learn about taking turns.
3. Build a snowman. Then a snowlady. Then a snowdog. Give your snow family names and take turns in telling a story about them. A great way to build communication skills and imagination.
4. Make home-made snow paint using water and food colouring. Fill some empty spray bottles with your coloured mixture and encourage the kids to create masterpieces in the snow. For older children, encourage them to draw specific shapes and images. Little ones should be encouraged to take a more ‘abstract’ approach.
5. Turn a snowball fight into a game of Simon Says. If someone takes a step before “simon says” then they should have to dodge a snowball. This is great for attention skills, and kids will love it if Mum or Dad keep forgetting to wait for Simon says.
Just wear your warmest hat and gloves!
For more information on Talking Tots, one of our Chatterbox Challenge partner groups, go to www.talkingtots.info