I am tickled pink about this week’s post! It is a continuation of the Toys and Tips Series and contains ideas to consider revolving around language development. Included are some thoughts on how to use a toy to elicit a sound, a word, a sign, or maybe to follow directions. Unfortunately, when you have doing this for awhile, you have some goodies tucked away that others cannot find currently. This is an example of one of my favs that I decided not to yap about since it is not available in a store. Great find at a garage sale or a local Goodwill though. That being said…let’s talk about velcro food. So many ideas with this week’s toy pick! And, it is a bonus week because I am sharing two!
There are tons of velcro food options out there and I am going to share a couple that are similar to mine. (Remember…I have been in the field for some years and the toy peeps keep changing things!). The fruit and veggie velcro food set are a preferred! Why? I am so glad that you asked!
- The velcro food allows a natural way to incorporate some items in my therapy sessions that hopefully my kids are eating and are familiar with. (ie. Apple, Banana, Grapes).
- The fruit and vegetables can also be used to work on receptive vocabulary. For example, you can hold up two pieces of fruit and state, “Show me banana.” If your child has difficulty learning new vocabulary consider reading my post on Prompts and Toy Selection. We may need to manipulate the environment to set the child up for success. This will be dependent upon the learner. And remember, physical and gestural prompts are easier to fade than verbal prompts. What does this mean? It means using less verbal prompts and figuring out how to fade a prompt as quickly as possible. We want the child to demonstrate the skill independently.
- I can even incorporate some lesser known items such as eggplant or pepper. I might do so with some of my kiddos that present with motor planning challenges and/or difficulties producing multiple sounds together. For example, “avocado” is a 4 syllable word I might consider backward chaining to elicit an accurate production of the word. Why will many kids attempt to imitate the word? Because they love the velcro food! Trust me. There is something about pulling those two pieces with a little bit of resistance that many kids love.
- Kids love to use that plastic knife to cut. Trust me again! Dependent upon the age of the child, he or she may need assist but the child most likely will enjoy it. The child can also “pull” the velcro food and then “push” the food back together. Here is a blog post by an Occupational Therapist regarding bilateral activities and the importance of using 2 hands together. In early intervention if your child is seen by more than one discipline your therapists may be able to implement some global strategies to help your child.
- The velcro food can be used as a matching activity. Dependent upon the learner you can put out 2 pieces of velcro food with the items pulled apart giving you 4 total pieces. See if the child can match 2 items. The child may be able to match from a larger field also. This is something you as the facilitator can determine.
- I know some of you love colors so there is the option of labeling colors. But, there is always a but… Consider the language opportunity with the velcro food too. Banana, Apple, Peas, Corn, etc. Ask your child, “What is this?” and hold up the banana. If your child cannot say banana maybe consider successive approximation as described by Nancy Kaufman here. If your child has not started verbally imitating yet, consider the use of signs. Baby Signing Times is an option for you and your child to learn signs. Or, you can google most any word and see the sign for yourself online. (I always tell my mom, let me google that and let’s see what google says. Love you mom. Thanks for reading my blog!)
- Verbs/Actions runneth over with this toy! Cut. Pull. Push. Eat. Match. Check out the Teach Me To Talk blog on your child’s first 100 words. Several action words appear during this vocabulary growth period. And, if you are interested check out these free coloring pages for the actions “run” “jump” “kick” “hug” and “yawn”. No need to sign up for anything. Just download first and then print!
- Take turns with the knife and incorporate, “My turn” and “Your turn.” If your child has not begun to talk yet, maybe try hand over hand assist to help the child touch his chest and you model the word “me”. Start with where your child is at.
- When your child begins to add words such as pronouns and actions words (even colors) you might see your child start to combine words as well. This is an excellent opportunity to model 2 word phrases such as “my banana” or “green peas” or “cut apple”. You get the gist!
This sandwich set has been around for a coon’s age! When I started working at Little Friends in 1999, we had this set never to be found again. But alas, a couple of years ago I was at Lakeshore Learning (one of my favorite places to shop) and saw the set. It was a no-brainer at 16 dollars. The tab to the tuna can pulls off. And if you are wondering… Yes! It has velcro! The butter dish opens like a tupperware lid. I like mine with lettuce and tomatoes! Using the loaf of bread set yields other opportunities for language! We can ask, “Where does the cheese go?” and model the phrase, “On top” or “On bread”. Or, we can turn this activity into a labeling task by asking, “What is this?” while holding up a piece of bread.
Any who… I have prattled on enough for this week’s post. I hope you enjoyed it! If so, share with a friend and consider following my weekly posts. And remember, next week we will have Lorna d’Entremont of KidCompanions as my first guest post! And, next month we will have an Occupational Therapist join us for a post too!