Get into the Swing of Swinging.

Swing setMost kids love the swings, even if it’s just getting into the bucket seat or graduating to the banana seat.  Getting kids to learn how to swing themselves can be a bit tricky and frustrating.  Here is a tip to get them going.  Once you get your child swinging, kneel in front of them with your arms extended outward and your palms toward the child.  Ask them to touch your hands with their feet.  When they do, give them a good push backwards, emphasizing bend legs as the verbal cue.  This will help to reinforce that bent knee position.  As they come towards you, legs out or touch my hands are good verbal cues to get that fun push backwards. 



Toys in the Middle

Toys in the MiddleTransitioning from summer play all by yourself to playing with others at school is tough for our children. A simple way to introduce opportunities for group play is to place toys in the middle, kids on the outside, with children around a common set of toys and facing each other. Whenever a child looks up from play and sees someone, it is a brief social opportunity.  Slowly increase the time you expect a child to play near peers.  Transition them to group play by including a preferred toy in the shared set.  Opportunities for teaching group play: in the sandbox with toys, on the floor with cars and blocks, or at the table with play-dough.

Besides creating opportunities, what else? If you want to sustain play, join in!  Model functional use of the toys by pushing the car or rolling the play-dough.  Add simple language or sound effects.  Enjoy the moment.  If you are not having fun, the child probably isn’t either. I love to tell people that I get paid to play. More info?  Please comment = )

Playin’ with Dad

Here’s an easy idea for getting back to school. Take your little guy to the playground of his school as much as possible.  Get him used to the actual equipment he will be using at recess. The playground is an important place to fit in. Sometimes I bring Little JP’s sand toys and sometimes his trike. JP can get in a rut (sound familiar?) so we try to change up what we bring.

Large Group Social Game- “Timber!”

TimberTo the tune of “The Wheels on the Bus…, while seated on a carpet in a large circle, the group sang “Building blocks go round and round… let’s make a road/ wall/ tower.”Blocks were passed one at a time in a circle. The person holding the block at the song’s end, placed the block in the middle. We used large cardboard blocks for a more dramatic effect when they fell over- Timber!- a class favorite. We allowed the blocks to fall AFTER all the blocks were placed. A simple and fun group game! Thanks to two of my very dear SLP colleagues for their help inventing this way to introduce a social game to a preschool curriculum.


BONUS: This idea can be used either in the classroom or at home.