Speech & Language Activities for Thanksgiving

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By OTA Wakefield-Kingston November 14, 2019

November can be a busy month.  Here are some fun ways to reinforce your little one's speech, language and literacy goals with some festive fall activities.  

1.  Create a Thanksgiving tree on your wall at home - Every day, write something you are thankful for on a paper leaf together and adhere it to the tree. What a fun decoration and also a great way to have your child interact with holiday guests by having each of them fill out a leaf as well.  

2. Fill a cornucopia of vocabulary words - You can use an actual one or print an image of a cornucopia from the internet.   Then find pictures to place into it.  It can be foods, objects, speech articulation target sounds, magazine clippings, or photos.  The child can place the image in the cornucopia once it is described.  This is a great way to work on categories, colors, shapes, articulation sounds, etc…

3. Make Thanksgiving bingo cards - You can create your own using clip art.  There are also many you can print offline from Google Images. This is a fun way to utilize the language around the holiday and teach what Thanksgiving is all about.  It can be even more rewarding when kids use festive treats as the bingo marker.  

4. Play Thanksgiving Memory -  Make your own Thanksgiving Memory games with target vocabulary.  There are lots of great vocabulary options related to Thanksgiving, but if you’re stuck, you can find some lists here:

5. Say it with a Pilgrim puppet - Create a play.  Help your child expand their language and vocabulary though their pretend play skills.  Try some of these templates and craft ideas for the puppets:

6. Build a turkey - Start with a plain brown turkey body shape – think bowling pin shape. Cut out paper feathers from a variety of colors and work with your child to say Thanksgiving target words or any speech sounds that they have trouble pronouncing as you write one on each feather. Have your child glue the turkey feathers to the body, continuing to practice the words.

7. Pumpkin Play Dough – Make some homemade scented pumpkin pie play dough and get creating.  This is great sensory exploration activity and fine motor work.  What a fun way to stimulate language in little ones.  There are many recipes to make the doh online.  Find a good one HERE.

*Always be mindful of children’s allergies when choosing your recipe.  

8.  Describing foods with adjectives - For this activity, tell your child that you are going to do a taste-test of all of the foods we eat around Thanksgiving time.  Here are some ideas of adjectives you could use:

  • Sweet
  • Salty
  • Sour
  • Juicy
  • Crunchy
  • Hot
  • Cold
  • Chewy

This is a great way to have our “picky eaters” explore some foods in a positive fun way.  They can rate the foods or separate them into their likes and dislikes.

 * Please be mindful of allergies when making food choices.  

9.  Labeling family members - The holiday season is often a time of visiting relatives that your child may only see a few times a year.  Now is a great time to remind your child about who all of those people are.  Get out some old family pictures or go onto Facebook and see if you can find pictures of family on there.  Then, go through all of the pictures with your child and tell them who everyone is.  Then, pull the pictures out again later and see if your child can name everyone.  If not, try to make it into a game.  Here are some ideas of how you can work on learning family member names in a fun and enjoyable way!

  • Print out pictures of your family members and lay them out on the floor.  Take a few steps back and then have your child toss a beanbag onto the pictures.  Whichever picture the beanbag lands on is the one your child has to name.
  • Tape pictures of your family members up on the walls in a room that can be made dark.  Then, turn out the lights and give your child a flashlight.  Tell your child that she has to find the pictures with her flashlight and then name the one she finds.
  • Hide pictures of the family members around the house.  Let your child search and find the pictures and name them when she finds one.  You can have your child follow directions or even trickier, follow clues to the location it is hidden.

10.  Make a pie together - Cooking activities are great for helping improve your child’s speech and language skill especially working on following directions.   For this activity, you will need one mini pie crust (check out the mini graham cracker crusts in the baking aisle); one can of pre-made pie filling, like cherry, apple, or pumpkin, and some graham crackers or cookies to crumble on top.  Create a “recipe” for your child with the following steps.  If your child is not reading yet, you can draw pictures of each step or find pictures on a Google image search.

  1. Put filling into pie crust
  2. Crumble cookie/graham cracker and sprinkle on top
  3. Put in oven
  4. Take out and let cool a bit
  5. Eat!

Contact OTA Wakefield-Kingston to inquire about receiving an OT evaluation for your child. We’re here to help your child gain self-confidence and independence!