Following Directions During the Holidays

Enrichment Therapies

December 23, 2019

Does your child have trouble listening and following directions? Getting your child to follow commands at home does not have to be difficult or boring. At Enrichment Therapy and Learning Center, P.C., we target a child’s receptive language skills through following directions in a fun and purposeful way. You can too!

Following directions, simple or complex, is so important to a child’s daily life. This skill can be practiced in play, during daily routines, etc. Check out the following examples for simple and engaging ways to incorporate verbal multi-step directions into various Holiday traditions. 

Baking Cookies

We all had to learn how to read and follow the instructions for that special cookie recipe. Now is your chance to teach your children those same vital skills. From adding ingredients to preparing the utensils before baking, you are providing consistent direction during this fun activity. Depending on your child’s age and receptive language abilities, here are a few examples of two- and three-step directions that relate to cookie baking:


  • Get the bowl and bring it to me.
  • Open the flour then pour it in the bowl.
  • Pick up the spoon then stir the mixture.


  • Pick up the rolling pin, hold it over the dough, then start to roll.
  • Find the candy cane cookie cutter, pick it up, then press it into the dough. 
  • Pick up the knife, dip it in the frosting, then frost your cookie.

Baking also incorporates sequencing, understanding of basic concepts including size, color, etc. and can increase the child’s overall expressive language abilities. For other fun activities for increasing your child’s expressive language abilities by targeting action words, head over to this blog post.

Making Holiday Cards

The holidays are a wonderful time for your children to get creative and make holiday cards for their family and friends. These designs can be simple or elaborate! Before making these cards, set out the materials you may want to use. This could include: different colored paper, crayons, scissors, glue, glitter, etc. The opportunities are endless. Instruct your child with one-step to multiple-step directions based on their age and skill level. Here are few two- and three-step directions to incorporate while card making:


  • Pick your favorite colored paper and bring it to the table.
  • Pick up the red crayon and set it on the paper. 
  • Draw a star then color it yellow.


  • Pick up your scissors, grab the green paper, then cut it down the middle.
  • Pick up the glue, put the glue on the paper, then sprinkle the glitter on top.
  • Finish coloring the page, pick up your pencil, then sign your name.

Decorating the Tree

Verbal commands can be provided while decorating the tree at home as well. These commands can get more specific to target your child’s ability to identify colors, shapes, size, or other basic concepts (e.g., on top, at the bottom, etc.). This blog post provides lots of good ideas for incorporating instructions and understanding basic concepts while decorating the tree at home or for decorating a tree the children can make themselves.

For more information about your child’s receptive language abilities and when these skills should be acquired, check out these previous blog posts.

Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center has locations in the Iowa City, IA area and Des Moines, IA area. We provide individual speech-language therapy and tutoring as well as offering small group academic programs.  At Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center our passion is to help kids achieve effective communication skills and gain academic success.  Contact us for more information on how we can help your child succeed.

740 Community Drive, Unit A

North Liberty, IA 52317


5530 West Pkwy, Suite 300

Johnston, IA 50131



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