I went down to visit my BF (Cari) and fellow SLP (Speech Language Pathologist) a couple weeks ago. She says I bought this game and thought of you. The kids love it too. Well, of course I want to know what the game/toy. I am curious like that! All the while prefacing that I do not need anymore materials. Eek! Well, it’s totally cute and I ordered it on amazon promptly. And it’s fun and full of language learning opportunities. Check it out…Hide-N-Go Moo
If you do not have a child’s attention… you will not have any shared attention. Joint attention allows for imitation, interaction, reciprocity, etc. One of the many reasons I love this toy is it shakes and makes plenty of noise. Why? I can gain a little one’s attention with a little noise and we can go from there.
Today a little one reached in the barn and pulled out an animal at which time he promptly looked at me. Nice! Him and I were thinking about the same object. Then I used visual cues (I like Nancy Kaufman’s!) and elicited “moo”. We put the animals in the tunnel. After placing one animal he came back to the barn and looked at me before reaching in. I provided another visual cue and elicited “more”. When the animals were in the tunnel it also would have been a great opportunity to point to an animal and say the animal”s name! Language is more than words… it is eye contact, it is pointing, it is holding out items of interest, etc!
I have started giving this handout (16 gestures by 16 months) by the First Words Project to some of my families. It’s important to look for these gestures in our little ones. Our little ones need to have joint attention so we can participate in the same activities and so they can learn from us within activities. For example, handing an object for help or holding out an object of interest to bring you into his/her play. I also like this handout from the Hanen Centre regarding joint engagement: “the child and his caregiver interact with the same object over a period of back-and-forth turns”
Side note…Have you checked out teach me to talk’s first hundred word list? When you think about the first words that kids tend to use, you can build that vocabulary into your play. And, woo-hoo…we can use this toy to do just that! Our concrete thinkers and those that enjoy container play will love this toy. “In” “Out” “Hide” “Pour” “Shake-Shake” “Peek” “Knock Knock”. The options are endless! We can model short phrases and expand on a one word utterance from your little one too such as “pig in” “cow out”. Here is a nice and simple explanation of language expansion and how to use it.
In a recent session I was walking and crawling and hopping up the foam ramps in the family’s home while saying walk walk walk, etc. During a session the following week the little one said walk and crawl and hop spontaneously while going up the ramp. Woo Hoo! These same vocabulary words were then modeled with the animals with this toy. It worked! I love when language can be carried over into a different context. Think about modeling appropriate language in motivating contexts for the child. Some kids benefit from movement too. If the child is motivated we increase learning opportunities.
This toy is similar to my “Red Box” post in case you missed it. You don’t necessarily need the barn. I might have just needed my Amazon fix. Use a shoe box from your closet! You do not have to use just animals either. Switch it up and hide other fun gadgets. I love using wind up toys in my sessions. This creates a communicative temptation that Barry Prizant and Amy Wetherby talk about in this one page snippet. I found another link to the same idea with more helpful hints. (here)
According to the Rossetti Infant Toddler Language Scale understanding of size concepts emerges between 24-27 months of age. I love that Hide-N-Go Moo has just that… “Big Cow” “little cow” etc. Other ideas within your home setting to tackle this concept: when sorting laundry (big sock vs. little sock… Thanks Lorri for that idea!) or at the dinner table with cup sizes; drawing with sidewalk chalk outside- big circle and little circle, etc. I love Seekaboo too for the concepts of big and little; and matching; and labeling; and sorting, and the list goes on and on. Lots of learning opportunities to be had.
Anywho… just some thoughts on a fun little toy that is easily wiped down! Us therapists need to think about those things when working with more than one little one.
Until next time… enjoy your week everyone. Thank you for taking the time to stop by and check out my latest blog post.