Speech, Language, and the Holiday Season

Happy holiday season! The holidays are an exciting and special time spent with family, friends, and new experiences. For some families, it is also a busy, bustling season that makes finding time for facilitating language, practicing speech-language goals, and making this time of year meaningful challenging for kiddos. Here are some ways you can practice with your child this holiday season!


Go on a scavenger hunt for words with your child’s sound.  Label, say what you see, or make silly sentences!

If your child’s target sound is /s/, find “snow,” “sing,” and “sled” and practice saying “We sing on the sled in the snow.”

 Autism/Social Challenges

Create a social story about the holiday using simple sentences, pictures, and in your child’s perspective. For example, “It is the holidays. My family will come over. I will eat a meal and open presents. I can say ‘thank you’ when I get a present.”

Practice present opening at home with old toys. This can be a great opportunity for strengthening turn-taking skills (let someone else open a present first!), perspective taking (don’t tell people what there present will be!), and social fakes (put on a smile, even if it wasn’t the present you were expecting!).

Receptive Language

Pick various holiday items in your home or environment and describe them while having your child guess the object. For example: It’s a toy that we keep in the closet, we take turns playing it, it has a spinner with numbers. You can also practice following multi-step directions around the house (e.g., get the plate and put it on the table, find the present and give it to mom)

Expressive Language

You can make a story about what is going to happen or what happened over the holidays (e.g., I was home with my family, I ate turkey, I felt happy). For extra arts and crafts, create a sequencing activity about how to complete various tasks (e.g., wrapping a present: first get the present and wrapping paper, then…etc.)

Alternative/Augmentative Communication (AAC)

Find and model holiday-themed vocabulary or “redefine” vocabulary if words are not pre-programmed. Ex: if Santa Clause is not programmed, we can say “Christmas man who has presents.


The holiday season is a great time to introduce new and exciting language opportunities! Reach out to your clinician if you need more ideas!