Activity #1: Thanksgiving Taste Test
This is one of my favorite Thanksgiving speech and language activities, though maybe that’s because I enjoy eating! 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. Pull out two pieces of paper (large pieces if you have them). On one page, draw a line down the middle. On the left, write “I like it!” and draw a smiley face. On the right, write “I don’t like it” and draw a frowning face. Every time your child tastes a food, you will write/draw it in the right column based on if he likes it. On the other page, draw a line down the middle and then one across the middle, dividing the paper into four sections. Do the same thing on the back. In each box you will write an adjective that you could use to describe food. Here are some ideas of adjectives you could use:
Now, you’ll need to collect a bunch of Thanksgiving/harvest type foods for your child to try. You don’t need to prepare a whole Thanksgiving feast to make this work. Your turkey can be a slice of lunch meat from the deli counter, your mashed potatoes can be instant, and you can buy a can of cranberries in the canned good aisle. If you’re looking for an even easier way to do this, many grocery stores will have a hot-food section where they have buffet-style foods already made. Around this time of year, most of those places have Thanksgiving-style food available.
Once you get a nice collection of food, sit down at the table and try each one with your child. You can make this a whole family event! After you try each one, write it in the “I like it” or “I don’t like it” column, and then write it in any box where it fits the adjective. If your child is highly resistant to trying one of the foods, you have them give it a “no thank you bite” or a “no thank you kiss.” Then you can taste it tell them which adjectives it fits in.
Visual Aids for Taste Tests: Download my worksheet with pictures of many different food descriptors for free.
Activity #2: 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 (like an interior closet or bathroom). 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.
Activity #3: Make a Pie
Cooking activities are great for helping improve your child’s speech and language skills. 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 Google image search.
- Put filling into pie crust
- Crumble cookie/graham cracker and sprinkle on top
- Put in oven
- Take out and let cool a bit
Follow the cooking directions on your pie crust for how hot and how long. If your pie crust does not come with baking instructions, just put it in the oven at 350 degrees until it is warm in the middle. There shouldn’t be anything in here that needs to be cooked to a certain temperature. This activity will help your child learn how to follow directions and follow a recipe!