JINGLE ALL THE WAY!
Are you thinking about Christmas activities for therapy? I’ll be sharing all of those activities this month here at teachmetotalk.com so check back for new ideas regularly so you don’t miss anything.
Today’s therapy activity is super EASY…
Almost too easy to count, but I’m sharing it first so that even if you’re not in the holiday spirit yet, you can surely muster enough energy for this one!
I share this idea every year and always get emails saying how well it’s worked, so here goes…
JINGLE ALL THE WAY
Dust off any set of bells you own, whether it’s a set of jingle bell bracelets to more traditional bells. Christmas wreath bells are everywhere this time of year, even at the Dollar stores.
Or if you’re really desperate, grab the ones hanging from your doorknob! (Yes, I have used that kind before in a family’s home when I haven’t brought in my own bells!)
Actually, having a group of bells for a toddler to choose from is even more fun!
Place all of your bells in some kind of container such as a basket, a Christmas bucket, a clear drum, or my favorite, a zip-lock bag.
Tell your little friend or your own child that you’re going to make some music and play bells. Say the word “bell” and other relevant words like “shake shake shake” as you play your bells. Have fun with it yourself so that the child will want to play too. You can even march around the room and have a parade as you play together. Sing Jingle Bells as you march or just say, “March march march!” or “Shake the bells!”
While your child thinks you’re just having fun, you’re really setting the stage for first words.
Anytime you model an action with an object or a body movement for a child to copy, like shaking the bells or marching, you’re teaching him how to imitate.
Imitation is a CRITICAL step in helping a nonverbal toddler learn to talk!
Many times we expect a toddler with no words to begin to try to copy our sounds or words long before he’s developmentally ready. Teaching him how to imitate ACTIONS with OBJECTS and SIMPLE BODY MOVEMENTS is really where we should begin treatment. Include other easy actions such as holding the bells up high, down low, behind your back, ANYWHERE, so that a toddler wants to do what you do. For more information about this philosophy and step by step instructions for teaching a toddler to imitate, click here.
Another fun activity to do with your bells is to sing Jingle Bells. Here are the words in case you need a refresher:
“Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle all the way.
Oh what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh
As you sing, or for more fun, SHOUT the word “Hey,” hold up both arms. You’re providing another opportunity for your child to imitate you, even if he’s not quite ready to say the word.
After you’ve sung the song dozens (and I do mean dozens!) of times, pause just before you say the word “Hey” to see if the child will fill in your pause with the word “Hey!”
Even if he just raises his arms, you know he’s learning!
Using simple songs like this during speech therapy with toddlers is great all year long, but it’s even more fun at Christmas time.
So dust off those bells and start singing, marching, and jingling all the way…
The Amazon link is below for your convenience for my favorite Jingle Bells in case you need some of your own!