Tuesday, May 8, 2012

4G - activities for the next generation!

After working in the public school system for over 7 and a half years, I learned to take one activity and make it address the goals and needs of multiple children. For example, a simple game of Go Fish can be used to work on asking questions ("Do you have any 2's?"), number recognition ("I have a 4, a 7 and a 3"), social skills related to game play, turn taking and being a good sport, and if I have a list of words that target a child's speech sounds, they can say words based on the number on their card.


I will be presenting simple, fun activities along with a few language and speech goals that you can do with your child. These activities can be modified for the needs of your child. To make them easier for your child (I know that this seems obvious), simplify what you are asking your child to do - give multiple choice options, provide part of the answer or give the answer and have him repeat it. Give him only as much support as needed to answer correctly but is still learning. Slowly reduce how much you are doing for him so that he is doing more and more for himself. If he needs it to be more challenging, increase the language demand in what you are asking. In our Go Fish example above, if he can already name the numbers, have him add simple numbers (or multiply them), make up sentences that contain the number so that he is working on plural nouns (use irregular plural nouns after he does regular plural nouns correctly), or bring in a friend (or sibling) so that social skills are practiced with peers which gives more opportunities to work on conflict resolution!


Each activity set will have 4 types of activities like an arts and crafts project (called Glitter), good vocabulary words to address (called Glossary), or books or other things that I feel would go along with the activity (called Gear). Each activity will have a different set of 4G activities. Check back often to see what is available!


The first 4G I am going to share with you is one of my favorites. I love the Itsy Bitsy Spider! My daughter and I love to sing it. We love to do the actions that go with it. I have given similar activities to families and teachers working with 2 to 5 year olds. It is great for working on early speech sounds (there are 6 opportunities to practice "p", 7 opportunities for "d" and 2 opportunities for "m"). It is also great for language skills! Ok, I know that you are thinking... "let's get to it!" So, here you go:



The Itsy Bitsy Spider
The Itsy Bitsy Spider went up the waterspout.
Down came the rain and washed the spider out.
Out came the sun and dried up all the rain.
Then the itsy bitsy spider went up the spout again.


Glitter (arts and crafts): Make fingerprint spiders. Using an ink pad or marker, have your child put his thumbprint onto white construction paper. Use a marker or black pen to make 8 legs. Your child can practice cutting skills by cutting out the spider. You can then use this spider for many things.








Gobble (recipes): Marshmallow Spiders. Take one regular and one mini marshmallow and stick them together with a toothpick or pretzel. Then add mini M&Ms or chocolate chips for the eyes and pretzel sticks for the legs. I heard someone suggest that you cover the marshmallows in chocolate, too. Sounds yummy!

Generate (expressive language skills): You can work on body parts and the location concept “on” when singing "There's a Spider on the Floor." Also, I would “hide” them in places your child would easily find them like on the couch, on the floor, on the TV stand, etc... Then when he finds them, he can say “the spider is on the couch!” When he picks up the spider, you can add “Now the spider is off the couch!”

Glee Club (songs and fingerplays): "There's a Spider on the Floor" (to the tune of If Your Happy and You Know it). This song has the potential to go on and on and on! Make up verses for wherever you put the fingerprint spider you made earlier. Do as many verses as you want. We like to mix it up a bit. The first time through we may do "on the floor" then "on my leg" then "on my tummy" then "on my head" and end with "on the floor" again. Second time through we skip the tummy and do the neck and face. Don't feel like you need to sing every verse every time. Do what you want at the time.

There's a spider on the floor, on the floor.
There's a spider on the floor, on the floor.
Who could ask for anything more, than a spider on the floor.
There's a spider on the floor, on the floor.

Now the spider's on my leg, on my leg.
Now the spider's on my leg, on my leg.
Oh, it's really big, this spider on my leg!
There's spider's on my leg, on my leg.

Now the spider's on my tummy, on my tummy.
Now the spider's on my tummy, on my tummy.
It sure makes me feel funny with a spider on my tummy!
Now the spider's on my tummy, on my tummy!.

Now the spider's on my neck, on my neck!
Now the spider's on my neck on my neck!
Oh, I'm gonna be a wreck, I've got a spider on my neck!
Now the spider's on my neck on my neck!

Now the spider's on my face, on my face!
Now the spider's on my face, on my face !
Oh, what a big disgrace, I've got a spider on my face!
Now the spider's on my face, on my face

Now the spider's on my head, on my head!
Now the spider's on my head, on my head!
It is something that I dread. I've got a spider on my head!
Now the spider's on my head, on my head!

(say this line) Now he jumps off.... (if you have put the fingerprint spider on top of your head, if you look down, the spider will fall to the floor...kids love that part!)

There's a spider on the floor, on the floor.
There's a spider on the floor, on the floor.
Who could ask for anything more, than a spider on the floor!
There's a spider on the floor, on the floor. 


There you have it! I'd love to hear how these worked with your child! What was his favorite activity? What did you change (make easier or harder) so that she could improve her language skills?

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