Snow Days & Snow Cream: Expand Your Child's Language Skills
With the continuation of virtual learning, working from home, and/or teletherapy sessions, our SNOW DAYS may not be as thrilling as they once were. Staying home all day, every day can be exhausting for both you and your kids! Participating in a new activity can be an exciting "event" for your family, and we are here to make it easier!!
Some of my favorite memories as a child were making snow cream with my brother. We would pile as much snow cream in the freezer as we could in hopes of saving it all year!! Spoiler: it never lasted…
Below is a snow cream recipe as well as some ideas to help expand your child’s language skills.
- 1 cup milk
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 pinch of salt
- 8 cups of clean snow
Being in the kitchen and engaging in these tasks are great ways to target language skills. These are great skills to focus on for all school-aged children!!
Before you start making the snow cream, explain to your child the sequence of making the snow cream. Use words like first, second, then, and last. For example, "First, we will get the ingredients. Second, we will mix the ingredients. Then, we will eat our snow cream. Last, we will clean up the mess." Continue using these words as you make the snow cream!
Describing and Commenting
When making and eating the snow cream, use descriptor words such as cold, wet, sweet, etc. Try talking about all five senses when making and eating the snow cream! For example, "My snow cream looks fluffy like a cloud," or "My snow cream tastes so sweet."
Give your child simple 1-2 step directions. For example, “Can you hand me the milk?” or “Get the spoon from the drawer and mix the ingredients in the bowl, please.” Encourage your child to complete these tasks independently and provide visual cues (e.g., pointing to the milk) when needed.
Talk about the differences between salt and sugar. How are they similar? Ask your child questions such as, "Salt and sugar are both white. How else are they the same?"
Answering “WH” questions:
As you are preparing the snow cream, ask your child questions like “What color is the milk?” “Why is the milk cold?” or “Where do we keep the milk?”. Model the appropriate response if your child is unable to answer and talk about how you came to that conclusion.
These language expansion ideas are transferable to other activities as well! Remember to always model, model, model. Your child learns from you and benefits from the way you talk about events and activities. If you are concerned your child is not demonstrating age-appropriate language skills, talk to a speech-language pathologist!
Enjoy and Happy Snow Day!!
-Samantha Graffius, M.S., CF-SLP