Embracing the winter chill, we invite you to embark on a delightful journey of language and play with our Winter Clothing Dress-Up activity. In the Winter Wonderland Dress-Up activity, children will step into the role of imaginative fashion designers, curating the perfect winter ensembles for their large dolls or stuffed animal friends. This activity is great for the long cold winter days at home because there is virtually no prep involved! You can set this activity up within seconds and this not only promises hours of entertainment for your little one but also serves as an enriching language development exercise. We've included specific language strategies so that you can turn this simple play idea into an educational activity to do at home. As a bonus, we've crafted a set of free printables containing a variety of describing words and action verbs related to clothing. Dive into the magic of winter and language exploration by clicking here for your free printable!
Winter Wonderland Dress-Up
Your child's hats, scarves, mittens, and earmuffs.
Your child's favourite stuffed animal or doll.
Steps for this Winter Educational Home Children's Activity
Start by helping your child pick the stuffed animal or doll they want to use
Lead your child to the area where you store all their winter gear.
Help your child pick out the perfect winter outfit for their stuffed animal. Use our language strategies at the same time!
Work together to dress up the stuffed animal and each other. Your child will love dressing you up!
This activity is open ended. Follow your child's interest and their lead. Your child will feel comfortable with the familiar steps of putting on winter gear, but they'll love the novelty of dressing up their stuffed animal and dressing you up! The magic happens when you use the language strategies that we'll describe later on.
Educational Language Strategies for Younger Children
1. Repeatedly Naming
Begin the adventure by naming each winter accessory as your child pulls out each item from the drawer, bin, or wherever you store your winter gear. This is a great way to introduce new vocabulary but also establishes connection between words and objects. Naming objects in children's activities is a powerful language strategy as it introduces new words in real-life situations. Modeling words during activities aids contextual learning helping them establish connections between the word and what the word means. As your little one interacts with the clothing items, repeatedly reinforce the names. "Look, you're putting the hat on the doll's head. It's a hat!" This repetition transforms the activity into a language-rich spell.
2. Copy Them
Turn the dressing-up process into an interactive spectacle! Use exaggerated movements to copy what your child is doing during each dress up step—playfully put on your own hat at the same time, wrap your scarf around your own neck, and put on your mittens on your hands. Your excitement and participation helps animate the activity while talking about what your child is doing. Young children love it when adults copy them. At this stage of their cognitive development, they receive lots of natural social reward when they see others copying them. Or you can ask your child to help you put on your hat, scarf and mittens to turn this mundane routine chore into an interactive activity. Creating opportunities for fun engaging interaction increases your child’s attention so it will be more effective when you try your language strategies. This also adds a delightful touch of playfulness and kinaesthetic learning, which helps with vocabulary acquisition and memory retention.
3. Empowering Choices
Empower your toddler with the power of choice. Lay out an array of winter clothing options, including different patterns and colors, and let them decide which hat, scarf, or mittens the doll should wear. You can hold up two items that differ by style and ask your child to pick which one they want. You identify the two options by their contrasting feature. For example, “Do you want the fuzzy hat, or the smooth hat?”, “Do you want the strips or the dots?”. There are so many benefits to offering choices! Choices encourage decision-making skills, fosters a sense of independence in children and supports the development of communication skills. Giving your child a chance to choose creates a natural language opportunity where your child can practice verbalizing their preferences. Also, offering choices in patterns and other describing words provides exposure to adjectives and adverbs which are essential building blocks for longer sentences. Supporting expressive language growth helps children express specific desires, advocate for themselves and have the words to communicate their thoughts and feelings.
4. Immersive Narration
Engage in a continuous narrative, verbally describing each choice your toddler makes. "You've chosen the blue mittens! Now the doll has warm hands!". Also, focus on verbally describing the different action words and phrases as your child participates in this activity. Action words like “slip on, pull up, wiggle into” are great to add to your child’s repertoire. These phrases are great to teach because they can be used in other situations to communicate. The repetition will help your child learn the vocabulary, grammar and sentence structure. This not only enhances language skills but also turns the dress-up into a storytelling journey.
Educational Language Strategies for Older Children
5. Language Expansion
To take this activity a step further and model even more advanced language, you can try the following ideas. These ideas broaden your child's understanding of the world and encourages curiosity.
Expand the winter vocabulary universe by modeling more advanced clothing items like "zipper," "button," or "pocket," depending on the clothing items.
Explore the sensations around each winter clothing item. Model more challenging words such as “fuzzy, smooth, soft, cozy, rough, stretchy”.
Engage your child in conversations that involve prediction and explanation. Discuss how each accessory might provide warmth. E.g., “What do the earmuffs feel like? They are fuzzy and might make us feel cozy. How do they make Teddy’s ears feel when it's snowing?”.
As a bonus, we've crafted a free printable featuring a variety of describing words and action verbs related to clothing. Access them here to add an extra layer of interactive learning and playfulness to this winter wonderland adventure.
Try This Simple Winter Educational Activity Today!
These winter educational activities aren't just about staying warm; it's about creating lasting memories while fostering language development and imaginative play. Watch as your little explorer transforms into a winter fashion maestro, creating a magical world of words and wonder with each snow-inspired accessory. Get ready for a journey filled with laughter, learning, and the joy of wintertime play!
Let us know if you have any winter or Christmas activities that are part of your family's tradition! Find us on instagram @chattytherapy to get more speech and language resources.
Chatty Therapy is based in Edmonton, AB. We have wonderful speech-language pathologists who can give you more specific ideas on how to work with your child to develop their language skills and tailor it to your daily routine. Speech-language pathologists specialize in helping children understand others and express themselves better. Click here to learn more about our services or book a free 15-minute consultation.