Turkey Time! Thanksgiving Activities for Kids with Language-Based Learning Disabilities
Language-based learning disabilities (LBLDs) encompass a wide range of challenges related to language, including spoken, written, and implied. A child with LBLD needs extra support, both in and out of the classroom, involving guidance by healthcare professionals and possibly speech therapy. You can help support the overall goals of improved communication skills by implementing games at home – and the holiday season means it is the perfect time to try these Thanksgiving activities for kids with language-based learning disabilities.
Thanksgiving Activities for Kids with LBLD
Tell a Turkey Story – Oral story-telling skills are often frustrating to acquire for kids with LBLDs, but giving them a few prompts can ease the challenges and encourage this important communication skill. Print coloring pages, stick puppets, or even clipart pictures related to Thanksgiving, and then take turns telling a story about the picture. Make a story stick to pass back and forth as you build the story together. You can even use multiple pictures and see if your child can make up a story that uses all of the pictures at some point. Below are some options for Thanksgiving-themed pictures and puppets to print and color.
- Papa Jan – This site has a large collection of Thanksgiving coloring pages, including a variety of turkeys, pilgrims, and modern Thanksgiving Day scenes.
- Making Learning Fun – This set of Pilgrim and Native American finger puppets are for your kids to color, and then the puppets can be mounted on craft sticks.
- MES English – This is another collection of Thanksgiving Day scenes and pictures for your kids to color.
Memory Match – Make a Thanksgiving-themed memory game where your kids can help color the pictures. I actually use this template from a free, printable Bingo game because I love that the words accompany each picture – reinforcing the vocabulary aspect of the game. Just print 2 copies of the second page to make your own memory game (or go ahead and print both and use it for Bingo, too!). For a memory game I like to glue the game pieces onto cardstock, otherwise it is too easy to see right through the paper.
What Am I? – The abilities to ask thoughtful questions and maintain conversations do not always come easily to children with LBLDs, but this homemade Thanksgiving version of the game HedBanz helps them practice these skills in a relaxed manner. I love repurposing games and activities, so I use the Memory (Bingo) cards from above for this game.
- Take a strip of construction paper and staple it to fit around your child’s head (and your own), as if you are making a paper crown.
- Turn the Memory cards face down, and then take turns drawing one without looking at the face of it.
- Paperclip the card to the rim of your own paper crown so that the picture faces outward (you can help each other with this).
- Take turns asking each other questions about the item on the card to see if you can figure out which card is on your head.
This version of the game is approachable for kids with language-based learning disabilities because the options are limited for what it could be, especially if you’ve used the cards before for Memory or Bingo – you’re helping set them up for success and giving them opportunities for question/answer sessions with low pressure.
Now It’s Your Turn for the Story! – Reading to all children is important, but kids with language-based learning disorders generally need more opportunities for literacy, so why not include some Thanksgiving books on your read aloud list? After you read to your little turkey, see if he can retell the story to you. If that is beyond his skill set, try just one picture on one page – see if he can describe it, either with words he remembers from the story or words that he associates on his own.
- T is for Turkey, by Tanya Lee Stone
- I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie, by Alison Jackson
- Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message, by Jake Swamp
- What is Thanksgiving?, by Michelle Medlock Adams
- Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving, by Dav Pilkey
These Thanksgiving activities for kids with language-based learning disabilities do not require a lot of prep work and you can modify them to fit the level of where your child is at with communication skills. So while the turkey is roasting and the pies are cooling, take a few minutes to try some Thanksgiving games and activities with the kids, and don’t forget to check back tomorrow for Thanksgiving crafts you can make with the kids, too!