Here are some picture sets for the /k/ sound, in all word positions, available in either black and white or colour.
For a long time I have tried to get myself organized so that I work in themes, in order to avoid using the same materials in too close a time frame (there's few things worse than pulling out an activity, only to have the child tell you we did it last week). I've tried to quickly set up rotating themes for myself, but inevitably the lack of preparation meant that I could only come up with a three or four themes and many materials completely slipped off of my radar.
I reorganized my cupboards at work the other day (this was loooong overdue) and since most of my materials were facing out so that I could see them, I decided it was a good time to snap some pictures and come up with a list of activities organized by theme. Later that weekend, as I was putting the word document together, I had a Mr. Wonderful moment (if you are familiar with the TV shows Dragon's Den or Shark Tank, then you'll know what I mean) and I thought: "THERE HAS TO BE A BETTER WAY"!
I decided to make use of some of the features that are available to me using my Squarespace blog and voila - my materials index was born! Now, presuming my computer at work can load my site (it is being replaced soon, so this shouldn't be a concern for long), I will be able to go onto my site and with the click of a couple buttons I will be given a list of materials that I can use for any given theme, age, target, plus more.
I realize that not everyone will have all of the same materials that I do, but I hope that nevertheless others will find this to be useful too. If you haven't checked it out already, you can find the materials index here in roughly alphabetical order.
How To Use The Materials Index:
Each material has it's own entry. Associated with that entry might be a photo, general information, related blog posts, categories, tags and additional links.
The "Categories" can be treated like themes. My plan is to do a different theme each week. By clicking on any given theme, one can quickly see and be reminded of all materials that fall under that theme. [see the list of themes below]
The "Tags" can be used to look for specific features in materials. These might include: target sounds, concepts, recommended ages, or other areas of practice. Select a feature to find materials that contain that feature. [see the list of features below]
As this is a work-in-progress, please feel free to provide suggestions in the comments for additional themes, features, or other information that would be useful to have linked with these materials. I will be updating entries as I come up with more information for each.
- Animals: Zoo (1)
- Construction (1)
- Outer Space (1)
- Sports (1)
- Valentine's Day (1)
- Winter (1)
- Birthday (3)
- Fairy/Princess (3)
- Halloween (3)
- Monsters (3)
- Animals: Dogs (4)
- Christmas (4)
- Dinosaurs (4)
- Easter (4)
- Food: Pizza (4)
- Pirates (4)
- People (5)
- Around The Home (6)
- Animals: Ocean (7)
- Animals: Farm (8)
- Bugs/Insects (9)
- Transportation (9)
- Food (12)
- Animals (18)
- "ch" WI (1)
- /f/ WF (1)
- /n/ WI (1)
- /p/ WF (1)
- /p/ WM (1)
- /sk-/ (1)
- /z/ WF (1)
- 1 yr (1)
- 10 yrs (1)
- 3D (1)
- Answers in Motion (1)
- Arts/Crafts (1)
- Construction (1)
- Eric Carle (1)
- Eric Hill (1)
- Flashcards (1)
- French (1)
- Learning Resources (1)
- Lotto (1)
- Narrative (1)
- Neat-Oh! (1)
- Occupations (1)
- Phonemic Awareness (1)
- Phonological Awareness (1)
- Puppet (1)
- Raffi (1)
- Smart Snacks (1)
- Sound effects (1)
- Vowels (1)
- Wonder Forge (1)
- auditory bombardment (1)
- barrier activity (1)
- clothing (1)
- less than 12 months (1)
- less than 24 months (1)
- lift-the-flap (1)
- location words (1)
- wordless (1)
- "sh" (2)
- /g/ WM (2)
- /s/ (2)
- /s/ WM (2)
- 9 yrs (2)
- Body Parts (2)
- Following Directions (2)
- Questions (2)
- Rhyming (2)
- cooperative (2)
- gross motor (2)
- storybook (2)
- velars (2)
- "sh" WF (3)
- "sh" WM (3)
- /st-/ (3)
- Disney (3)
- Fluency (3)
- Puzzle (3)
- Repetition (3)
- puzzle (3)
- "sh" WI (4)
- /b/ WI (4)
- /sn-/ (4)
- 8 yrs (4)
- BIG/little (4)
- Cranium (4)
- Fisher-Price (4)
- /g/ WF (5)
- /g/ WI (5)
- /k/ WM (5)
- Letters/Alphabet (5)
- Melissa & Doug (5)
- /f/ WI (6)
- /k/ WF (6)
- /p/ WI (6)
- 2 yrs (6)
- Memory (6)
- Songs/Nursery Rhymes/Fairy Tales (6)
- multiple ways to play (6)
- /s/ WF (7)
- Language (7)
- /k/ WI (8)
- Shapes (8)
- /sp-/ (9)
- Counting (9)
- Numbers (9)
- Pretend Play (9)
- portable (10)
- Magnets (12)
- Vocab (12)
- Special Occasions (13)
- Matching (16)
- 7 yrs (17)
- Fine Motor (19)
- Colours (21)
- 6 yrs (32)
- 3 yrs (50)
- 4 yrs (61)
- 5 yrs (62)
Some of the best money I have ever spent on Speech-Language therapy materials was on plastic Easter eggs! I bought my eggs at least four years ago and I have never had a child who didn't enjoy going for an egg hunt. In fact, some children like the egg hunts so much that they request this activity long after Easter is over.
In years past I have usually hidden folded up pictures of their targets inside the eggs; while it might not seem exciting, it is usually a hit. I have also sometimes used the animals from Discovery Toys - Busy Farm.
This year I decided to use the animals from my "Who Lives Where?" game (currently available on Amazon). I bought this game several months ago at a toy store in Napa (I can't recall the name, but it was a great store). I only just opened it a couple of weeks ago, as I was worried the kids wouldn't like how plain it is (because of the wood) or that they would feel it is for little kids. I couldn't have been more wrong. The kids have loved this game!
Before the child arrives I put the animals inside the eggs. Since I have 12 eggs, and there are 20 animals, many of the animals have to double up (except of course the whale and the elephant, because they are too big). Then I hide the eggs around the room. As you can see from the pictures the hiding spots can range from quite obvious to a little bit tricky, in order to keep it moving fast while still being interesting.
When the child is there I tell them that each time after they [fill in the blank with whatever they are working on], they can go find one egg and bring it back to the table to open it. I have found I can get a lot of "work" out of them for one egg. Once all the eggs have been found, we use the same animals to play the "Who Lives Where?" game.
The premise for this game is simple: divide up the animals between the number of players (10 animals each for 2 players, 6 animals each for 3 players, or 5 animals each for 4 players). There are wooden blocks with animal shapes cut out. Each block fits a pair of animals. There is a triangular piece of wood that goes on top of each block to cover the animal shapes and to form the roof. Each player takes turns lifting up a roof to see if they have an animal that fits inside and everyone must try to remember who lives where. The first person to find the homes for all of their animals is the winner. Of course before someone gets to take their turn, they need to say their target.
Some of the children I saw this week were also working on vocabulary or word retrieval skills. For those children I created some playing cards with pictures corresponding to the animals from the game using LessonPix (a website that may be tied with my plastic eggs for best money spent on SLP materials - review to come). I printed the cards on card-stock and sent them home for practice. You can access the cards via the link below.
All of the children I saw this week loved these Easter themed activities and it was very quick to put together between appointments. Maybe next year I will try something new from Pinterest (as long as I can use my eggs!).
Did you do anything special for Easter?
This year started out ordinarily enough. I was doing well with my "Happiness Project Experiment" and taking good care of my health with regular swimming, yoga, and a new ergonomic stool for sitting at the kiddie table at work.
The BCASLPA LinkedIn group was continuing to grow. It was around March that I was invited to join the BCASLPA advocacy committee because of my involvement with starting the LinkedIn group. There have been some great posters created and I have used these on my updated bulletin board at work (see below). The BCASLPA website is undergoing an update and I am looking forward to the finished product. A plan has also been created to expand upon how BCASLPA uses social media for advocacy and awareness and I am excited to be involved in that too.
In April I attended my first national, CASLPA, conference. It was held at the beautiful Victoria Conference Centre in my home-town - how could I not go? The conference was great, but the best part was reconnecting with people I had not seen in a while (including the SLP I job shadowed in high-school) and meeting people - some who I didn't know at all and others who I had interacted with on-line, but had never met in person.
It was also in April, after describing to my husband my idea for a blog, that he suggested I try out Squarespace for blogging. I tried out a couple templates and after I decided that I liked how Squarespace worked, he did the magic of registering the domain name I wanted and pointing the blog to said domain name.
I wrote my first post about a new toy, the stamp and sort mailbox, and then I froze. I had really high ambitions for my blog (to write reviews of research articles) but it was about 3 or 4 steps from where I was. First I needed to get over my fear of writing. When I finally, in September, wrote a post that gave myself permission to expand the scope of my blog, it was a huge relief and I've been writing pretty consistently since then. I would still like to incorporate some research article reviews into my blog in the future. Since starting my blog I see that there is a group of bloggers who do this on a monthly basis - maybe one day I will get my nerve up to join them.
Towards the end of April I decided to start a Meetup Group for SLPs in Victoria. I had recently gone for lunch with a few colleagues and after each little meetup I was incredibly inspired to return to work with some new ideas. I realized that I wanted to connect with other SLPs on a more regular basis. I wasn't sure whether or not anyone would join my group, but I thought what could it hurt. The group is now up to 30 members, and we have had 8 meetups to discuss journal articles and 3 social meetups. The feedback I've had, from those who have attended, has all been great and I've really enjoyed meeting other SLPs in the community and connecting with other SLPs more regularly.
Shortly after attending the CASLPA conference I had the chance to attend Social Media Camp, also at the Victoria Conference Centre. If you ever have the chance to attend this conference, I would highly recommend it. So much information on how the internet and social media operate - you will never look at Facebook the same way again.
Since this conference was only a couple weeks after CASLPA, and in the same location, it was really interesting to notice the differences. The biggest difference was that everyone was on some sort of device - even tweeting during talks. I know that this is starting to be more commonplace at SLP conferences, such as ASHA, but if people were madly tweeting at CASLPA, they were very discrete about it. In fact, the speakers themselves had tweets lined up to be posted as they were talking and they responded to tweets from the audience as they came in. It made for a really interactive experience.
The second biggest difference that I noticed was due to the fact that the talks were much shorter than what I had attended at CASLPA. Instead of feeling like a university lecture (and don't get me wrong, I love a good lecture), these talks felt like little inspirational speeches. Each speaker was so passionate about the information that they were sharing and they had to pack that information into a short amount of time.
As usual, the summer was busy at work. I typically don't take time off until the fall, as I try to see the kindergarten children as much as possible during the summer before they start school. There is always a happy/sad time as I say good-bye to the kindergarten children - happy to see the progress they've made and sad to see them go.
Early in October my husband and I took a vacation down to California and Oregon. It was great to get away for a little while and I stocked up on a bunch of new games for my return to work. I also stocked up on some of my favourite games by shopping on eBay.
Later in October I headed over to Vancouver for the BCASLPA conference. The speakers were really great and, like at CASLPA, it was wonderful to meet up with colleagues that I hadn't seen in a while and to put faces to names that I knew from online.
In the fall I challenged myself to update the bulletin board at work more frequently. I took it from this to this and in between it looked like this, this, and this. I already have an idea for how I will update it when I return to work in January.
In late October I started to get a feeling of overwhelming hopelessness - my caseload was the highest it has ever been and I felt like there would just never be enough time to do everything I would like to do. In early November I discussed this with a co-worker and we started making some plans (still in progress) to advocate for change. [I've been drafting a blog post to discuss this in more detail since early November - once I get the wording right I will add a link to it here]
Since I was using various social media sites more frequently, and my previous profile photos were seriously outdated, I decided to get some proper photos taken. This was inspired after reading Mari Smith's book. Early in November I met up with Chas from Ocean Wave Photography and had some professional photos taken. To read more about my rationale for doing a photo-shoot, read this blog post.
I took a 'me-day' in mid November to read Lean In from cover to cover. The inspiration I gained from reading that book added fuel to the fire that I already had going to advocate for change. That very same day, as I was skimming through Twitter, this blog post was written and shared, which in turn lead me to the SLPs for Change blog.
At first I was thrilled: other SLPs were trying to create a movement for change too! Then I was discouraged, as I realized that under-funding for SLP services is a problem everywhere. Who am I to complain? In comparison, my caseload isn't that outrageous. Then I shook that notion off, as it doesn't matter if large caseloads are the status quo; it doesn't make it acceptable. We still need to advocate for change.
After enjoying my "Happiness Project Experiment" from last year, but acknowledging that I had tried to accomplish too much, I decided to try something a bit different this year. I found I struggled to keep up with my new resolutions and I have been trying some different tools to help keep me on track (read more about that here).
As I take this time to reflect upon the past year I see that, as usual, there have been highs and there have been lows. Overall, I am really happy with the progress I have made - in particular by pushing myself outside of my comfort zone, which has provided me with opportunities I wouldn't have otherwise had. I am looking forward to continuing with advocacy in 2014 and whatever other adventures the New Year may bring.
I wish you and yours peace, love, health, and happiness for the year ahead.
These are some of the books that have inspired me in 2013:
- The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women by Valerie Young
- The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor
- Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
- The New Relationship Marketing by Mari Smith
- Amazing Things Will Happen by C.C. Chapman
- On Writing Well by William Zinsser
- The YOU Factor by Leslie Strong (I'm currently reading this)
Back in an October post I mentioned that I was using eBay to purchase used games for speech therapy sessions. I began to use eBay because it was the easiest way to find my favourite "go-to" games that are no longer being produced. I have now used eBay to purchase 5 games: 2 single games and a lot auction of 3 games.
The first game I ordered was a Fisher-Price game called Tic Tac Tony and this was the game that spurred my little eBay shopping spree. As I understand it, this game is quite rare. When I found it for auction on eBay I decided that, as long as I could get it for a somewhat reasonable price, I had to have it. Although I had purchased several things on eBay over the last 10 years, this was the first time that I actually bid on something. It was a bit stressful, deciding on a maximum bid. It was also pretty exciting, watching the bids go up. I was thrilled when I learned that I had won the auction.
There was, however, one little snag: this particular seller only ships within the US. Thankfully my husband has subscribed to a service called MyUS.com. This service provides people outside of the US with a US mailing address. You can have one, or more, things shipped there and then when you are ready, they will send all of your items to you at once.
I was starting to worry that the Tic Tac Tony game would never arrive. After sharing my concerns with my husband we realized that he had missed the notice from MyUS.com that they had received it and, as such, he had not given them the go-ahead to send it to our house.
Discounting that little mishap on my end, the experience with Tic Tac Tony was great. The item, apparently, shipped quickly to the US address and, once it arrived to me, it was exactly as promised. The game itself, which is completely plastic, was in pretty much perfect condition and all the pieces were included (the two games that I have used at work are missing discs). The cardboard box was a little beat up, but not too bad considering the game may be nearly 19 years old.
Spurred on by my success in finding and securing Tic Tac Tony, I decided to search for Barnyard Bingo, also by Fisher-Price. This game is actually back in production; therefore, I could have ordered it new, but for some reason I decided to look for it on eBay (I think because I wondered if it would be less expensive than buying it new). Instead I found the original Barnyard Bingo in a lot auction with 2 other Fisher-Price games that I had never heard of before (Adopt a Dog and Animal 2x2). Since I really love the other Fisher-Price games that I use at work, including Tic Tac Tony and Barnyard Bingo, I decided to try to win this auction too. I set my maximum bid and hoped for the best as I headed to work one day. I was once again delighted to learn that I had won the auction and this purchase was even easier, as this seller shipped direct to Canada.
The three games arrived quickly and, again, exactly as described, including all the pieces and instructions. Interestingly, they came in plastic cases instead of cardboard boxes. If it weren't for the fact that they have "Fisher-Price" and the names of the games printed on the cases, I might have thought it was just something that had been used after the original boxes wore out. I am wondering if maybe this was how they were sold to school or clinic settings.
The third, and most recent, game that I have purchased through eBay was Cranium’s Cariboo Island. This is a more recent game, in fact it came out only a few years ago, but for some reason they no longer make it. I had seen it on Amazon for over $100 and one day, after telling a friend about how much I enjoy using it, I decided to look it up on eBay. As I had seen on Amazon, many were priced really high but there was one that was priced under $25 and it was available to “Buy it Now”, rather than bid on auction. Even more exciting was the fact that it was described as “new”. On eBay, "new" is defined as:
“A brand-new, unused, unopened, undamaged item in its original packaging (where packaging is applicable). Packaging should be the same as what is found in a retail store, unless the item is handmade or was packaged by the manufacturer in non-retail packaging, such as an unprinted box or plastic bag. See the seller's listing for full details.”
I placed my order and, since this seller also only shipped to US addresses, had it shipped through MyUS.com. The item arrived quickly to the MyUS address and soon it had arrived at my home. I excitedly tore open the packaging in anticipation of my “new” game - imagine my disappointment to realize that it was not “new” it definitely met the criteria for “used”.
“An item that has been used previously. The item may have some signs of cosmetic wear, but is fully operational and functions as intended. This item may be a floor model or store return that has been used. See the seller's listing for full details and description of any imperfections.”
To make matters worse, one of the pieces, a two-sided card that fits inside the doors, appeared to be missing!
I began taking photos to document the wear on the cards and that one door-card was missing. As I moved it around to photograph it I heard something inside - it was the missing door-card. I was relieved. As I looked at it closer I began to appreciate that while it was in “used” condition, it was relatively gently used, especially in comparison to the copy of the game that I have at work. I had to consider how rare it would be to find a brand new copy of the game at such a reasonable price. I also felt that given it’s gently used condition, I was still happy with the price that I had paid.
In the end I was very happy with all of my purchases and I gave all of the sellers excellent feedback, with the exception that I made it clear that the seller of the Cariboo Island game misrepresented the condition. I think I was probably lucky with some of these purchases in that I happened to search for them at the right time that they were available. If you don’t want to be checking eBay everyday for the items you are looking for, then check out the first tip below - this is what I will be doing next time I am on the lookout for a specific toy or game.
If you are considering purchasing an item from eBay, keep these tips in mind:
Make a “Followed Searches” list on eBay.com (or “Save search” on eBay.ca) for items that you want to keep an eye out for. To do this: enter the keywords to search for the item. If nothing of interest to you comes up, look for the green “+ Follow this search” on eBay.com (or a star beside “Save search” on eBay.ca). Click on it and then you can arrange to receive email alerts for new listings matching your search.
Make sure you know what it is worth by checking/comparing prices on other sites.
If the item is rare (other prices are not available), make sure you know what it is worth to you and set that as your maximum bid, if it is up for auction.
If you are outside of the US, make sure the seller will ship to your location (or subscribe to a service like MyUs.com).
While it is definitely important to check the sellers ratings, it doesn't tell the whole story (the seller of Cariboo Island had 99.8% positive feedback). Make sure to click on their profile and read the comments that previous buyers have left about them.
Keep an eye out for “Buy it Now” auctions. If the price is right, and the seller’s feedback looks good, you could find what you’re looking for without getting into a bidding war.
Have you ever purchased something from eBay? What was your experience like? Do you have any other tips to add?
I finally found the perfect use for the “12 Days of Christmas Song”. The repetitiveness of this song, that can at times drive us crazy, is precisely what makes it so great for children with language difficulties. Repeating words frequently is often recommended as a language stimulation strategy because the more children hear words, the more likely they will be to say them.
Combined with repetition is predictability. Saying the same sentences the same way each time is a great strategy to support children’s language development because they can start to predict what will be said next. This means the adult can pause and give the child a chance say the last word(s) from the line.
To help the child learn the song, I would recommend finding the book . The book provides visuals that can help to cue the child about what to say next. Depending on the age of the child, another way to provide visuals, with or without the book, is to hold up the number of fingers to cue the child what number to say.
Using the book while singing this song will naturally makes it go slower (because it wasn't long enough), however, you can also sing it more slowly if you don’t have the book. Oftentimes songs (and stories) are said too fast for children with speech-language difficulties, as they need more time to process information. When songs are sung too fast, it impacts the child’s ability to participate because they can’t keep up. I've heard countless stories about children with speech-language difficulties who have responded to a question or greeting several moments after their communication partner has given up and resumed talking or, worse yet, after their communication partner has left.
This brings me to the last strategy I would recommend using with this song: waiting. After the child has heard the lines several times and you are going through it again, providing visuals, singing it slowly and pausing for them to fill in the last word(s) from a line - make sure to wait, longer than you think you need to, to give them plenty of time to say their part.
It should probably go without saying (and this is why I didn't count this as the 6th strategy) that you will want to respond with warmth and enthusiasm, every time the child makes an attempt at saying something from the song, as this will encourage them to try more. In fact, it will probably be hard not to respond enthusiastically as you see the proud look on their face, as they are able to say a little bit more each time.
I like to incorporate seasonally appropriate vocabulary and activities like this into my sessions, as I believe it is important for children to be able to talk about the exciting events that are happening in their lives and for them to be able to participate in the festivities to the best of their ability.
Can you think of another way that this song and/or book can be used to support speech-language development? Or do you know another Christmas song or story that makes use of these strategies for language stimulation?
This week I opened my "Naughty or Nice Board Game", part of the Elf on the Shelf product line. I purchased this, and several other games, while I was on vacation in October. I think I picked this one up from a Calendar Club store, but since I've been home I have seen it at Cole's (Indigo) bookstore in the Bay Centre mall and I just did a quick search and it looks like it is also available at Bolen Books, a locally owned bookstore in Victoria.
I must admit, I don't really know much about the Elf on the Shelf story, other than what I've seen my parent-friends post on Facebook and Pinterest. I bought this game because Elf on the Shelf seems to be pretty popular these days, it is for children 3-and up (it can be tricky to find games for younger children), and it is a nice change (for me and the kids) to have a seasonally appropriate and different game to use at work.
This game requires minimal assembly: assemble the spinner and put the Elf in the stand. On a side note, the spinner is very fast - by far the fastest spinner of all the games I've owned or used as a speech-language pathologist!
The premise of the game is that the Elf is hiding in different parts of the house. The players need to race (by spinning for a number and then moving the corresponding number of spaces) to be the first person to find the Elf, in order to get one of seven "gift" cards (these cards are how you accumulate points). Once a player has reached the Elf, and taken a "gift" card, they get to draw a card that will determine where in the house the Elf moves next. This continues until all seven gifts have been given and the player with the most points wins.
This past week, I played this game with five different children between the ages of 3 and 4. They were all very keen to play, however, I quickly realized that the game is too long. In order to shorten it, I played with just a few gifts and I found that this worked well to keep them engaged until the end of the game. Another alternative for really shortening game play would be to let the child draw the card for where to place the Elf and then have the first person to reach the Elf be the winner.
Another issue I had with the game is that the "gift" cards don't really represent gifts at all: the back is plain white and on the front there is a picture of the Elf with the number of points in a circle. I plan to add gift stickers to the backs of my "gift" cards so that they are more representative of gifts, as I felt that several of the children did not make the connection easily. I think a way to make it more fun would be to have "Santa's Sack" (you'll have to provide this yourself, but I have a lovely shiny red draw-string bag at my work that would be perfect for this). Once a player reaches the Elf, they could reach into "Santa's Sack" to get their gift.
Despite the issues that I mentioned, I would still recommend this game. In addition to this being a new game, the children were very excited to have a special game for Christmas. I think the game is probably too long for most 3 to 4 year-old children, however, with the modifications I suggested I think it will be more age-appropriate for that age group. I haven't had a chance to try it with older children yet, or with "Santa's Sack"; I will be sure to post a quick update once I have.
Here are some of my initial ideas for how to use this game to address speech-language targets:
- Word final /f/ (Elf, shelf)
- Word initial /f/ (find, follow)
- Word initial /g/ (gift)
- Word initial /sp-/ (spin)
- Word initial /n/ (naughty, nice)
- Vocabulary (around the house, Christmas)
- Counting and numbers
- Fluency (provide Lidcombe feedback during game play)
- Use game turn as a reinforcement for other speech targets
Download a printer-friendly version of the ideas and modifications here.
Have you heard of the Elf on the Shelf or used the Elf on the Shelf board game? What other speech-language targets could be addressed using this game?
This is a very good question and it is one that I am frequently asked by the parents of the children that I am working with. Since many of the games that I use at work belong to my employer, and have been there far longer than I have, this is never an easy question to answer.
For New Games:
I usually suggest the places that I check out in town such as Kaboodles, School House, Seeing is Believing, and Toys R Us - though I try to support local when I can.
For the last week I've been on vacation in the US, mostly in California and Oregon. I have been visiting a lot of toy stores on this trip and have stocked up on a bunch of games that I have not seen before in Canada. It will certainly make the return to work much sweeter with all of these new games to look forward to.
For Used Games:
Though I have not checked it out myself, I have heard from colleagues and some families that I work with that Value Village can be a good place to find games. Not only are they usually very cheap, but apparently sometimes they are in nearly new condition.
Recently I decided to try to find some of my favourite games from work to add to my personal collection. Two of my 'go-to' games, that I know I would really miss if I were to move to a different health unit or open my own practice, are Tic Tac Tony and Barnyard Bingo. I'm not sure if it is always this easy, or if the timing was just right, but I was able to find both of these on eBay. Tic Tac Tony seems to be a bit of a collectable, since it hasn't been made for several years now, but is widely loved. At the time of writing this, the Barnyard Bingo game was actually available to purchase on the Toys R Us site, but on eBay it was part of a lot auction that included two other Fisher-Price games that I had not seen before: Animal 2X2 and Adopt a Dog. Since I know how much I love Tic Tac Tony and Barnyard Bingo, I thought it was worth trying out these other Fisher-Price games too.
For now I will just show you the stockpile (minus the eBay purchases), but once I have had a chance to use them a few times I will do some reviews of them on here.
Let me know where you find games to work (or play) with children and how far do you go to find your favourites?
I recently purchased the "Stamp & Sort Mailbox" by Melissa & Doug. I saw this at a colleagues office. She highly recommended it and I thought it looked like a fun toy to add to my clinic, so I stopped at the teacher store on the way home and picked it up. It retails for approximately $30 Canadian and, like all Melissa & Doug products, it is very good quality, constructed out of wood and velcro. I see on their website that you can have it personalized with your (child's) name, unfortunately I don't see an option that allows you to change the colour to make it red like our mailboxes in Canada.
Skills that can be targeted using this toy are listed below. Keep in mind that these are just the ideas I have come up with before even trying it - this list will likely expand after I've used it for a while. If you have any additional suggestions, please add them in the comments below.
Printer friendly version (to keep with your toy)
- Pretend to send mail to different people for specific reasons using the mail included with the toy or make up your own.
- Pretend to be the mail-carrier and deliver the mail.
- Talk about the different kinds of mail, what is postage/stamps, who delivers the mail, how does mail travel around the world, why might we send something in the mail, the difference between "snail-mail" and e-mail.
- Vocabulary: letter, postcard, mail, mailbox, stamp, card, key, open, close, in, out, big/thick, small/thin, on, off, and turn.
- Child can practice utterances of varying length from single word responses to questions (e.g., "what are you mailing?" or "who are you mailing that to?"), to longer, fill-in-the blank sentences (e.g., "Put a stamp on the __" or "This is for __"), to spontaneously generated sentences.
- Practice /st-/ in "stamp"
- Use cards containing the sound(s) that the child is practicing and have the child mail the pictured items; child can practice at various levels from single words to spontaneous sentences.
Ideas for Adding to this Toy
- Use paper, crayons/makers, stamps/stickers so the child can make their own mail.
- Reusable option: laminate cards and add velcro for stamps (make your own laminated stamps or use those from the toy - just make sure that the velcro matches) so that the child can draw on the cards with a dry-erase maker.