Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Game Time

One of my favorite Mommy-tricks is making a game out of everyday tasks. Christian loves to help me sort laundry (I swear that's how he learned his colors). When it's clean-up time after a meal, we both get our brooms out and he helps me sweep. My laundry may be a bit wrinkled and my floors are always still a bit dusty, but it's a learning experience for me sweet boy! Our family is a little different, because in addition to laundry and clean-up, therapy time is just another everyday task.

I never wanted Christian's therapy time to feel like "work" to him, nor do I ever want him to know that what we're doing at that moment is considered "therapy". It's a tricky thing because I am really strict about targeting certain tasks, but I also don't want him to miss out on having fun. Yes, every moment always is a language opportunity as that is just how I've raised him (and now Lily too). As he grows though, we have targeted goals that may go a bit deeper than just the basic listening and speaking. In addition to the targeted sounds we push everyday, we also have worked on self-advocacy, which doesn't just have to do with his equipment. Another goal is working on categories (such as show me things that you wear vs. show me things that we eat).

Christian is a smart boy, and as he inches closer to 3 years old, I think he may have caught on. Today I wanted to work on our categories to back-up what he has been doing in his after-school therapy with his pull-out SLP. As we were taking off our shoes, I just started asking him some silly category questions. Here's our conversation:

Mommy: Christian, do we wear hot dogs?
Christian: No, that's a food! We eat food!
Mommy: Christian, show me something we wear.
Christian: Mommy, I already showed you all my clothes that I wear this morning. I wear shirts. I don't eat them.
Mommy: Christian, ok, well, do we wear jeans or do we wear carrots?
Christian: I told you already last week, we do not wear carrots, we eat them. They go in our mouth. It's a food. They go in the refrigerator.
Christian: Mommy, it's a game. I don't like this game. I already know what I eat. I already know what I wear. Let's make a new game.
Mommy: What game do you want play?
Christian: Want to play Superman?

So, obviously, you can see that it's time for me to figure out another way to work on categories. I may have to resort to him sorting recycling or something. I think he has food and clothes figured out. And he is SO over it.


leah said...

I love it! One thing I do with both boys (though Nolan is a little young for the game) is pretend to cook for their stuffed bears. I'll ask them to go and cook some fruit, for example. If Matt comes back with the plastic broccoli (play food), I'll say- "that's a vegetable! I need a fruit!" Then he'll run off and find a strawberry or grapes.

The Royers said...

I laughed out loud at this one! So, how do we play superman? Oh BTW do you happen to know anything about Georgetown Audiology?

tammy said...

That's hilarious! Such a smart boy! I've started the sorting laundry thing with Aiden to teach him shirts/pants/socks etc. and it becomes more of a peek-a-boo game than anything! We have fun though and that's what matters! Love your ideas Tina!

The Pink Totebag said...

He is so funny, Tina! From an elementary teacher's perspective, I think you are onto something with taking it to the next level with sorting. Something else you could try (which will not only help him with his language skills but also some important math concepts) is to give him a group of objects and see how he would sort them himself. I would start with some stuff that has obvious connections to each other (ie - colors, shapes, sizes, etc.) and have him tell you which ones he thinks could go together and why. Like a zebra, tiger, and panda would go together because they all have some black on them, but hippo wouldn't because it doesn't. I would be sure to have real objects for him to work with, so that he can observe them closely as he looks for connections. This could become more complicated over time, with more random stuff in the collection - such as a ladybug and an apple are similar because they are both red.

Over time, you could even take it a step further when he is ready and draw two big circles that overlap a bit in the middle (called a Venn diagram - which is a type of graph that is used a lot in early childhood education), and come up with two different features to include in the Venn. For example, one circle could be labeled "soft" and one could be labeled "blue." Where the circles overlap is "soft AND blue." Have Christian hunt around the house or through a prepared set of objects for things that are either soft, blue, or both and work together to put them into the different parts of the graph. You can use any different traits to do this exercise.

Hopefully, this suggestion will help you take this concept to the next level! Let me know if you have any questions - I would be happy to help (I love getting out of Mommy mode and back into Teacher mode when I can)!

Christian and Lily's Mommy said...

Thanks for the awesome ideas Ladies! Jenny, I always know I can rely on you for some great tools. You're the best xoxoxo