The Communication Christmas Countdown


by Liz Isaac
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This year we are doing a Communication Christmas Countdown to help you support your children with speech and language needs this festive season.

Day 1

We're kicking our Communication Christmas Countdown off with a celebration of you, teachers and all school staff, the superheroes, to say thank you for all the amazing things that you do. 

Email us this festive season to let us know which one of your school colleagues has been a superhero this year, for a chance to win 1 of 5 copies of The Ultimate Guide to SLCN. Email: office2@speechlink.co.uk

Day 2

Having special time for talking at home is one of the best ways to boost children's speech and language skills, and one of the most important presents they can get from their parents this Christmas. So, let's help them to ask for it with our Talking Time Vouchers!

Get your vouchers here.

Day 3

There is something truly magical about the look on a child’s face when they realise they have ‘built’ a word from their sound knowledge.  It signifies a key step in literacy development and the beginning of the journey of reading.

As a speech and language therapist and mum, I have had the privilege of watching this special moment many times over and it never ceases to amaze me.  Recently, my 4 year old announced with great pride: “I made a word!.....”awesome”!”  He proudly presented me with 3 cubes, sounding them out: “o-s-m!”  Building words by their sounds (and never mind the errors at this stage!) demonstrates an ability to identify the sound components in a word, to segment them in to those sound parts and to identify whether they make real words, or non words

As the winter fast approaches and we are gearing up for a magical holiday season, here is an activity  which promotes these early literacy skills whilst doing something creative….and, decorates a classroom or home!

Together, make some beautiful snowflakes, which are about the size of a saucer or small plate.  These can be as simple or intricate as you wish.  Make a small hole at the top so that they can be hung from the ceiling.

Next, add a consonant or vowel sound to your snow flake, to make it a ‘sound flake’.  You can add sounds according to your child’s level.  If your child would benefit from seeing a distinction between vowels and consonants, make these 2 types of sound flakes different shapes.

Then, simply hang them from the ceiling and start building words.

Day 4

Today is Santa’s Christmas list day! 

Help the children in your life to practise their talking by sharing with you what they want for Christmas.

It might be the latest toy or gadget, or they could talk to you about things that they would like to be different. For example, ‘I want Grandad to feel better’ or ‘I want the park to be open’. This helps you to know what’s going on inside the child’s head and provides a chance to have a discussion about how they are feeling. (You may have to point out that, unfortunately, wishes don’t always come true.)

It’s important that everyone has a chance to say what they would like and to be really listened to. This is good for language development and for emotional wellbeing. 

If you are working in a school or group setting, this can be a whole-class activity and you could make a note of what the children would like on one giant Christmas list. Make it part of your Christmas display!

Day 5

 

We know how important handwashing is, but it is something that needs regular reinforcing. Our handwashing booklet, designed by our speech and language therapists will help remind our pupils just how important handwashing is. Why not print off a copy and pop it at each child's place in class so it's the first thing they see in the new year?

See it HERE.

 

Day 6

Today is 'Put on your own shoes day,' why not try our 'Shoes and Socks' activity with your for our sixth day of the Communication Countdown. This game is to help your children learn how to match things. Grab your shoes and try it out for yourself!

Click HERE to play.

 

Day 7

Get the children in your life in the mood for Christmas presents and give their communication skills a chance to grow.

Wrap some well-known household items in newspaper and put a ribbon on each one, just like a Christmas present. Let the child guess what is inside each one. Help develop their comprehension skills by giving clues. The child can tell you whether the item is hard or soft, big or small and you could tell them what it is used for. For more advanced language skills, you could tell the child what the item begins with or find a word that rhymes with it.

This could be a group activity where an individual child or small group of children gives clues to others about to help them guess. This develops their expressive language skills too.

The activity can become an online activity by sharing a photograph of a very small part of the item, or the item from an unusual angle.

 

Day 8

Listening skills are fundamental for speech and language development, and Listening Walks are a wonderful way to develop these skills. Why not share our recent blog with parents so they can take their family on a Listening Walk of their own. They're great to fit into the journey home from school!

Click HERE to read.

 

Day 9

Here is a great activity for decorating your home for the winter holiday, whilst reinforcing vocabulary. Liquid chalk pens are a great way of encouraging creativity, mark making and promoting conversation – best of all, they rub off easily! A great way to decorate a classroom or home whilst sharing a positive message this winter.

Watch it HERE.

 

Day 10

Time for talking and catching up with friends and family is something that we all look forward to at Christmas time, but this year we are going to need to do things a little differently. Our Talking Tree baubles are here to help!

Try it HERE.

 

Day 11

It’s Christmas jumper day today so there is plenty of chance to get communicating in the Christmassy mood!

Help the children in your life to develop their vocabulary skills by asking them what words represent Christmas for them. Any word is acceptable – you can find out why a child associates that word with Christmas by asking them to give you some more information. What else can they say about each word? Do they have other words that mean the same thing? Each word can be added to a giant Christmas jumper shape (or smaller, individual ones) along with decorations, to be used as part of your Christmas display.

 

Day 12

Making wrapping paper is a simple fun activity which promotes lots of language around vocabulary, patterns, colours ..... and negotiation! Fun for all ages and a perfect activity for school or home. Get creative with potatoes - or maybe try another vegetable or fruit, or cut winter shapes from fallen leaves.

Watch it HERE.

 

Day 13

Want to help parents make the most of those quick, simple, everyday opportunities for talking? Here's something that any parent could try out on the way to or from school: Playing 'I Spy...' will help to develop children's vocabulary and their describing skills by teaching them to talk 'around' words. You can help the whole class perpare by brainstorming a list of things they might spot on their journeys right before home time.

 

Day 14

Grab your scissors and glue - it's time to make some decorations! What's more iconic than a homemade paper chain? This year, why not turn this into a language activity. Once you have cut out all your strips of paper, write some words on them (or stick some pictures!). Ask the children to find the words that go together and form your chain out of the words in each category. Ask children to explain the links as they build the chain. You could even make a longer chain with sections for different subcategories.

 

Day 15

We love gingerbread - it's a feast for the senses! In honour of Gingerbread House Day, here's just one idea for how you can turn your sweet treat into a language opportunity... Whether you're decorating your gingerbread or just eating it, why not take some pictures at each step along the way. That way, once you've finished, you've got an instant sequencing resource. Ask your children to find the right order of the pictures, and help them to talk about what happened.

 

Day 16

It's Chocolate Covered Anything Day!

Why not have some fun with your children and support their language development too? Go grab some chocolate and get messy!

 

Day 17

For day 17 of our Communication Countdown, we have the next in our Top Tip Series. Join Derry, our Speech and Language Therapist, as she shares tips for giving lots of fetails when talking with children.

This will be a great video to share with your parents for the holiday period.