Shopping during this busy time of year can be overwhelming! BAC clinicians are masters of play and well-versed when it comes to children's toys and games. Let them help to narrow down your choices with suggestions that are sure to bring smiles while secretly targeting a variety of therapeutic goals! Today, BAC Speech-Language Pathologist and Clinical Director, Stephanie, shares her top two picks!
This toy is perfect for teaching little ones early sounds and words! I usually hold all of the coins in my lap, then hand the child that I’m working with the pig. Since there are so many coins, there are so many opportunities for communication! Here are some ways to target speech and language skills:
Start with environmental sounds/exclamatory words. Say “boom!” each time you push a coin in or “whee!”/“uh-oh!” as you dump them all out.
Have your child request “more” each time they want another coin for the pig. Model the sign while saying “more” (or use gentle hand over hand to help your child make the sign if they need a little support).
You can also target short phrases. Have your child say “more coin,” “put in,” “go in,” “take out,” “open door,” etc. each time you hand them a coin.
Don’t get rid of the pig once your child has tired of putting the coins in and out! As your child gets older, have them practice following directions with prepositions by asking them to hide the pig “under the table,” “behind the pillow,” “next to the bookshelf,” etc. You can also practice following multi-step directions with the coins (ex. “First put in a yellow coin, then put in red one”).
*** Pro tip - you might want to leave the batteries out of this toy, especially when you first introduce it! Some children may just prefer to toggle with the buttons to hear the different sounds, but when we are working on language skills we want to be the ones providing all the “sound effects!”***
This game can be modified in so many ways so that everyone in your family can enjoy it!
For younger children, remove the element of "racing" and just have them match the colored cups to the pictures with your support. This is a great time to practice using and understanding prepositions. Discuss the order of the cups (ex. the red cup goes next to the black one, the yellow cup is between the red and green ones, etc.). You can complete "bonus rounds" where you only use your words to describe which order the cups should go in without using a picture from the game.
Because the rounds of this game move quickly, it is the perfect activity for articulation practice! Between each round, have your child practice their target sounds/words 5 times. Then, they'll get a quick game break (each round usually takes less than a minute!), then they can practice their sounds again.
Games that have multiple rounds are also great for practicing flexible thinking, matching the size of our reaction to the size of the problem, and the concept of winning/losing. For children who have a hard time losing games, they may demonstrate "big reactions" (ex. crying, yelling, etc.) and have a hard time recovering, especially with games that have one finite ending (ex. Candy Land, Connect 4, etc.). With Quick Cups, however, winning/losing rounds is fleeting and can seem a little more manageable for kids who are practicing losing a game appropriately. Because they'll win/lose multiple times while playing the game, they'll get lots of practice! Practice saying "nice job!" or "good game" in between each round, moving on quickly to help your child understand that we can still have fun playing a game even if we lose!