Updated: Dec 7, 2022
Looking for things to do with your family this winter season? Look no further. Check out our constantly updating list of Christmas and winter holiday events happening in Edmonton across December. As well, here are some easy parent tips to help your child's language. Try these strategies while your family is at these events and get the most out of your time there. These speech and language strategies will help your kids learn more words, talk more, and build stronger language skills - while you all have fun together.
Bookmark this page and check back for more events. We will be adding more as the month progresses! Perhaps there are ideas for your toddlers, tweens, or teens that you can do this weekend or even today.
We'll start off with some easy language strategies and then dive into our list of Christmas and winter events for families with kids in Edmonton.
Language Activity #1: Toddlers starting to talk (1-2 years old)
At this age, our little ones are learning how to talk. They need chances to practice using the sounds and words they know to tell you want they want. Giving choices is one way we can get our toddlers to talk more. When parents give choices, it creates a natural opportunity for their child to practice using their words. Whenever another human asks a question or gives a choice, it's natural for the other individual to give a response. We want to create normal situations for your kids to practice saying what they want and communicating their ideas on their own.
When parents give choices, it creates a natural opportunity for their child to practice using their words.
During your outing, give easy and simple choices for your child to make. For example, if your family goes to Candy Cane Lane (148 Street between 100 Avenue to 92 Avenue, Edmonton) you can give choices while you walk down the sidewalk. You can give choices like: “Snowman or Santa?”, “Next one or look more?”, “Go home or walk more?”, “Walk slow or walk fast?”. Make sure you give up to 10 seconds after you ask your child. Young children need time to think about what you said, and time to formulate what they want to say afterwards.
Language Activity #2: Children learning more words (2-5 years old)
Label label label! Continuously comment during your outing using vocabulary that your child might not know yet! Introduce more advanced words by commenting during the event together. This is a great opportunity to model more descriptive synonyms because your child will get a tangible understanding of what the new word means. They will get to see and experience the definition of a new word.
This is the best way for your child to learn a new word - to see it in action.
For example, if your family goes to the Leduc Country Lights (Leduc West Antique Society 49541, Range Rd 260, Calmar). You can say something like “Wow! That Christmas tree really illuminates this path,” at the same time you and your child are looking at a brightly lit Christmas tree. Your child would be able to see how the bright Christmas tree lights up the dark path and the surrounding area. This is the best way for your child to learn a new word - to see it in action.
Compare this with your child trying to learn the word illuminate from a flashcard with an abstract picture of a bright light, or a boring word list with its definition. How much MORE interesting is it to learn while we have fun and a good time?
Language Activity #3: Conversations with older children (4-10 years old)
For this third tip, we recommend doing some comparing, contrasting and associating. During your outing, look around and take turns picking:
Two similar things. First, talk about how they are similar. Then talk about how they are different.
Talk about how the two things are related.
This tip works on higher level thinking and reasoning. Having these conversations with your children will help develop their ability to explain more complicated ideas. If you are doing this with a younger child, they might intuitively know how different things are related but they will probably have difficulty explaining HOW they are related. This is a great skill to practice! In Grades 3, 4, and 5, children will begin doing comparing and contrasting in their written assignments at school. However, before children can communicate their thoughts through writing, they need to be able to share their ideas verbally. Having these types of conversations helps them practice complex reasoning through talking first. This will set them up for success when they transition to communicating these ideas on paper.
Having these conversations with your children will help develop their ability to explain more complicated ideas.
For example, if your family goes to the Borealis Lights Christmas Drive-thru Light Display event (47 Riel Dr, St. Albert), you might see a light up Santa, and a light up sled display. You can talk about how the Santa and sled are similar, how they are different, and how they are related. You might say the displays are the same because they both use the same type of small red lights, or that they both flash on and off. You might say they are different because Santa is a person, and a sled is a type of transportation. You might say that they are related because Santa rides in a sled to deliver presents on Christmas.
For older children, try challenging them by picking objects that are really similar and talking about how they are different, or objects that are really different and talking about how they are the same. Have them try to connect and relate objects that seem to be completely unrelated (e.g., how is the moon the sky the same as the light up elf, how is the moon related to this elf?). You might get into some funny and interesting conversations (and maybe debates!) with your kids!
Have conversations around your kids’ opinions and reflections of the event! In addition to helping them practice their language and thinking skills, you are showing that you care about their thoughts and you value conversations with them.
Talk about which hot chocolate was the best and which was the worst. Why is the hot chocolate better at the Family Christmas & Winter Wonderland at Prairie Gardens & Adventure Farm (56311 Lily Lake Road, Bon Accord) than the hot chocolate at home?
You can play the devil’s advocate and pick the most unassuming display and argue for why it is the best. Try to convince the other family members to change their opinion.
Talk about why the Nutcracker live at the Alberta Ballet (11455 87 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB) was better, worse or different than the Polar Express on IMAX at the Telus World of Science (11211 – 142 Street, Edmonton).
Speculate the steps involved with setting up an activity. (e.g., How did the artists at Ice on Whyte, Whyte Ave, Edmonton make the colourful ice wall and ice sculptures?). If possible, try doing it yourselves at home!
Kid-Friendly Christmas and Winter Events in Edmonton
At last, here is our list of events in Edmonton and the surrounding areas you go to with your family (and maybe even your family dog).
Location and Dates
St Albert Family Resource Centre (December 5, 12, 2022 1:30-3:30pm) FREE Children 4-6years old
St Albert Family Resource Centre (December 7, 14, 2022). FREE
Four Seasons Park, 5417 – 43 Avenue, Beaumont (December 10, 2022, 4-9pm)
Glen Allen Recreation Complex 199 Georgian Way, Sherwood Park (December 11, 2022). FREE (Free skate rentals too)
Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium 11455 87 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB (December 7-11, 2022). Tickets starting at $65
Museum Sensory Night Experience - Explore the Alberta Aviation Museum with less sensory overwhelm. Lights will be dimmed and sounds will be reduced. Wander the museum at your own pace. Check out these nights if you or your child would benefit from a calmer environment more relaxed environment. Make your own paper aircraft!
Alberta Aviation Museum (December 15-16th) $15 Adults, $9.50-$10.50 Children
A Family Christmas & Winter Wonderland at Prairie Gardens & Adventure Farm - Indulge in a warm breakfast, hot chocolate and roasted marshmallows. There are plenty of holiday activities including a ride on Santa's sleigh or ride on a train. You can even meet the animals, play holiday games, or wander the Frightmare Before Christmas Haunted House.
Prairie Gardens and Adventure Farms 56311 Lily Lake Road, Bon Accord (November 26, December 4, 11, 18, 2022) $14.95
Candy Cane Lane - Walk (Dec 10, 17, 23) or drive (other days) around the street and look at all the festive and beautifully decorated homes and all their light displays. There will also be sleigh rides, fire pits, and food trucks!
148 Street between 100 Avenue to 92 Avenue, Edmonton (December 9 2022, January 1, 2023) Free
Leduc West Antique Society 49541, Range Rd 260, Calmar (December 1 - 31, 2022). $2 per person
St Albert Kinsmen RV Park (November 18th 2022 - January 8th 2023) $25 per car
TELUS World of Science Edmonton 11211 – 142 Street, Edmonton (Saturdays & Sundays November 26 – December 18, 2022) $9.95
University of Alberta Botanical Gardens (November 23rd - December 31st, 2022) $25 Adults, Free for Children under 12
Edmonton Expo Centre (December 1, 2022 - January 1, 2023) Family passes $75.99-89.99
Edmonton Valley Zoo (December 2, 2022 - January 1, 2023). $15.95 Adults, Children $9.95-12.95
Talk as much as you can over the Christmas and Winter Holiday season
There are infinite opportunities for you to help your child's speech and language development. This list of Christmas and winter events in Edmonton is just the start! The best way to help your kids learn new words and be a better communicator, is to use fun and engaging activities that they enjoy. All you have to do is encourage them to talk more! The more they can talk and participate in conversations, the more they get to practice and hear new words.These language tips are meant to show you how easy it can be to infuse language opportunities within the Christmas and winter activities you were already planning to do. Take your child's language to the next level and create a rich language environment!
As a final note, there are many events out there, especially during the holiday season. However, the most important part is spending time with your children. No matter what you decide to do, your kids value your presence and attention. Enjoying each others' company is at the heart of this holiday season.
Comment below if there are fun winter holiday events or activities in Edmonton that we need to know about! 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.