It seems that the days often feel short this time of the year, and the cold weather can prevent us from wanting to go outside. With these two factors working against us, you may be left wondering, “How am I going to keep my child occupied all day?” Before worrying too much, here are some fun indoor activities to encourage speech and language development.
- Invite your child into the kitchen! Cooking with your child is an excellent way to target direction-following and expose them to new vocabulary that they may not have heard before. Hands-on activities, like cooking, are excellent ways to target speech and language as well as different motor skills like pouring, stirring, and opening boxes or containers.
- Grab a brown paper bag and put random objects inside! After you have collected random objects to put inside your bag, have your child reach in and feel the object without looking. They can begin trying to guess what the objects are. If they cannot figure it out, then they can ask for a hint. Describe what the objects look like, what function they have, and where you may find them. After that round is completed, switch roles and have your child find objects to throw in the bag and you can start guessing!
- Build a fort! Go ahead and grab all your blankets, pillows, and maybe even chairs and begin building a fort. Let their imagination run wild and see what they come up with. Fort building is often a great way to target problem solving, because we all know those blankets can only stretch so far and they frequently slip off the table. Encourage them to be flexible and think of different ways to solve those problems.
- Find your arts and crafts bin and haul it over to the table! Are you somebody that doesn’t feel very crafty, or maybe the opposite, loves to create, but dreads the cleanup? Take a breath and just provide your children access to paper, pipe cleaners, glue, glitter (gasp!), scissors, cardboard, and have a little fun seeing what they make. This will often provide opportunities for them to ask for help, request more of something, or make comments on what they are creating. Afterward, they can tell you all about their creation and help with the cleanup!
- Create a sensory bin! Do you have a box of rice that got pushed way back in your cabinet? Or perhaps beans, pasta, cotton balls, or all of them together! Throw whatever you have on hand into a bin and hide small objects inside. Your child can then dig to find all the treasures. This is a fun sensory activity that could possibly entertain them for a long time. Get them talking about what they found and what it feels like!
Hope you find these activities easy to incorporate into your cold weather, fall, and winter routines! Happy indoor playing!