Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Preschool Matching Activity: Pets

Today I am taking my 3 year old to the pet store.  What a great place to use language!  Pets is always a fun theme for younger children.  Talk about the similarities and differences between each pet.  What do they sound like?  What do they eat?  What do they like to do?  Do you have any pets at home?  Here is a little activity I came up with.  Since most younger children can't read, it ends up being a good listening activity.  It also established the early foundations of defining words, which we talked about in detail a few weeks ago.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Have you heard of this app?

Peek-a-boo Barn 
Have you heard of this darling app?  Peek-a-boo Barn is great for very young kids, ages 1-4.  I like using it with late talkers to encourage vocalizations.  It is good for teaching animal vocabulary and animal noises.  Animals rotate hiding in the barn and the child has to tap the screen for the door to open.  I like it for children with hearing loss too because before you open the door, the animal is making a very quiet noise. When the door is opened it becomes louder.  It's fun to guess what animal is hiding by listening to the sound they are making.  Young children with Down Syndrome or Cerebral Palsy also particularly like this app.  It does not require fine motor coordination.  Because of that my 8 month old loves it!  There is a lite version which is free.  The regular version is $1.99.  Take a look!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Book Review: The Noisy Noisy Farm

The Noisy Noisy Farm is about some animal friends who become worried one morning when Rooster does not wake them up.  They spend most of their morning calling to Rooster and gathering more friends.  He still doesn't answer so they go look for him in his shed, only to discover that Hen's eggs had hatched and Rooster is a proud daddy!  Isn't that a darling story?  It is sweet and simple.  The artwork is beautiful and on almost every page is a button for the child to push and hear an animal sound.  I have read this book with preschoolers with Down Syndrome or other disabilities and they totally love it!  Often, when I am working on a child with severely delayed speech, we back up to animal sounds.  This book is a good way to reinforce those sounds and some children really like to imitate it when it is coming from a book.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Preschool Sorting Activity: Farm and Jungle Animals

Hello reader!  Thank you for stopping by.  Are you a follower?  If you're not would you please become one? I would love some more.

My last sorting activity was pretty popular so I thought I would share another one with you!  Animals are always a fun and easy concept to teach to preschoolers.  It's important for them to start distinguishing that animals live in different places and have different characteristics. You can also use this activity to teach the animal sounds.  This activity could also be a great describing activity.  Instead of cutting the animals out beforehand, show your child the sheet with animals and describe what you're going to cut out next.  See if they can guess what you're talking about!  You can vary the difficulty level.  For example, "I'm going to cut out the animal that says 'Moo'".  Or you could make it more challenging and say, "This animal has a mane, a tail, and you can use a saddle to ride on it."  You can also turn the tables and let your child try to describe an animal.  Kids love being the teacher!  After the animals are cut out you can do the same listening/describing activity again as you glue them onto the animals' home.  Kids love repetition - don't shy away from it!  

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fun Fact Friday

My three year old recently explained to me that 'dehydrated' is when you don't drink enough.  That was his ploy for me to give him more juice.  Yeah, it worked.

Did you know that by the time a child is three years old, he has approximately 1,000 words in his expressive vocabulary?  A 5 year old has about 2,500, and by the time a child is 12 years old, they know and use about 50,000 words. 

Kids are SO AMAZING!!!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Sneak Peek Into My Life

We've been busy over here at my house.  And by 'we' I mean mostly my husband.  He loves me enough to be simultaneously starting a new job, getting a real estate license, starting grad school, AAAAAND.......

refinishing our basement so I can have an office! Here are some 'work in progress' pictures. 
Here are the stairs going down.  Before this it was very dark.  Very dirty.  Very scary.  Lots of cobwebs and termites and a very old and mildewy smell.  
 This little corner will be my office space.
 The other half will be a living room/waiting area for parents.

Be excited for the 'After' shots.  Coming soon!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Preschool Sorting Activity: Fruits and Vegetables

Here's a fun and simple activity for you moms/teachers of preschoolers. This would even work with K or 1st graders, depending on their language level. Below are two sheets for you to print:  Just click on the picture to go to the link.

Suggestions for Use:
- Cut out the shopping carts and each individual food item.  For added language stimulation, have the child listen to clues given by you on what to cut out next.  For example, "Cut out the fruit that is orange and sweet" or "Cut out the vegetable that is small and round and green."  

- Have the child sort the food by different categories.  Obviously you could do fruits and vegetables - always a great concept to rehearse.  You could also do it by color or size.  You could also sort by whether its crunchy or juicy.  Sort it by whether or not the child likes it.  Sort it by as many ways as you can think of!  

- You could also use this as a compare/contrast activity which is an important pre-writing skill.  Put a pumpkin in one cart and a carrot in the other.  Ask the child, :"How are they the same?" (Both vegetables, both orange with green stem).  How are they different? (One is round and one is long and skinny, one grows underground, one grows above on a vine)

- The possibilities are almost limitless!  It is simple but so much fun!  It also works on cutting skills and gluing skills which are also important for preschoolers.  I hope you like it!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Video: Skye

This is Skye.  She was born deaf.  See the possibilities of what a cochlear implant can do by watching her story.

Skye Carter: Hearing for the First Time from Adam Irving on Vimeo.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Defining Words: Part 5 Games and Apps

There are lots of fun games to use to reinforce categories and word definitions.  Here are some of my favorites:

Name 5
Just like it sounds.  Each card gives a prompt for you to name 5 items in random categories, such as 'items that make you sneeze' or 'types of dogs.  There is a timer which adds an element of difficulty if you want it.  Great for any speech therapy session if you play for a few minutes at the very end. 

Too bad I didn't patent this when I had the chance, because I totally invented it.  Oh well.  It's a great way to reinforce the concepts of categories and defining words.  Kids will know when they didn't do a great job describing it because the other child will tell them flat-out, "I have no idea what you're talking about."  And they will be rewarded when they used good clues because the child will guess.  The categories are concrete and the vocabulary is familiar.  I like to introduce this game by modeling "bad clues".  Say we're talking about  ice cream.  I say, "It's yummy".  They might have a guess but most likely they will not get it from that one clue.  I then proceed to explain that lots of things are yummy so that is a 'bad clue'.  It's usually quite the 'aha' moment for the kids.  I'm constantly prompting them by asking, "What makes it special or different?"
20 Questions
A great way to teach kids the importance of 'narrowing it down'.  I usually draw a big circle on the board and call it 'animals'.  We talk about how there are many different kinds of animals and we need to 'narrow it down'.  Then I discuss how we can narrow it down by type (mammals, reptiles, amphibians) or habitat (tundra, jungle, forest).  See how great it plays into the curriculum?  20 Questions is a fun way to teach the applicability of
 'narrowing it down'.

And here are some apps that I know of that you can use to teach sorting, organizing, and defining words:

- Objects: Pro
- What Does Not Belong?
- Clean Up: Category Sorting
- NLConcepts Autism: Sort and Categorize
- Pre-Number Category Sorting Matching Game
- Name that Category
- Let's Name Things
- Autism and PDD Categories
- Category Carousel

I am sure there are lots more!  Leave us a comment if you have one that you particularly enjoy or know about.