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Updated: Mar 6, 2019

Included in each of our themed boxes is a label that shows three ways to play. Today I’m introducing what I hope will be a consistent feature of our blog. We will be adding in three ways that we will be playing at home and in therapy. I will also add literacy resources in addition to those already featured in the boxes themselves, so you can see how much language development this type of play can facilitate.


*Spoiler alert… my girls are obsessed with animals. Surprising I know. But here’s the thing, in my experience, all kids are. Jordyn introduced me to this book and I knew we needed to incorporate it into our play and therapy. The beauty of the book is that it provides information while asking kids to intrinsically compare and contrast their own features with those of the animals portrayed. Bonus feature: there is a narwhal in this book. I’m not really sure I need to explain further. A NARWHAL PEOPLE.*


So without further adieu…


How we played:


1. Building Habitats

When I initially set up this theme in my therapy setting I asked my kids to build an animal habitat. We worked together to come up with a definition of the word and to describe where these animals might live. While each child had individual time to address their specific communication needs, the others were engaged in creating the example they had previously described for the group. At the end of the session, each child told the group what they created and why they included a specific feature. For example, one child informed us that she “built a watering hole for her land animals because they don’t live in water but need to drink.” Simple but effective.


2. Making Animal Teeth

I mentioned previously that we have been using the text What If you had Animal Teeth. For this way to play in therapy, I started by printing out our Magical Momdom Face Mat freebie. (You will need to laminate or put inside a page protector to use). After we read about each animal, the kids were in charge of building its teeth.


We talked about size, shape, color, and function of the teeth as they built. I found this to be a fantastic summarizing activity. When we were through with the book, I picked two animals for each of the kids to compare and contrast.


3. Puzzle Towers

Any of you have those chunky Melissa and Doug puzzles lying around? I grabbed this Melissa and Doug one for our 1.5 year old to practice while the big girls and I played memory with our Magical Momdom freebie Safari Three-Part Cards. While we played, the girls said each animal’s name when they flipped the card over. My 5 year old reviewed the beginning sound of each animal. My 3 year old yelled the letters she recognized. Ahem…loudly I might add. When they were able to make a match, they grabbed the matching manipulative to put on top. This allowed them to connect the real life image to the figure in front of them. When we finished the game and completed our post game dance party, we helped our “baby” complete the animal tower. She grabbed her puzzle pieces and the big girls helped her find where each animal puzzle piece belonged. At the end, our towers consisted of a real life picture, a cartoon image puzzle piece, and the animal manipulative.


Other Ideas:

1. Print out a world map. Laminate/protect. Have your child build the continents with playdough over their placement on the map. After reading more about your animals, place them on the continent where they live.

2. Use the animal cards to play Guess Who. Conversation example: Does your animal have fur? Yes? Then it can’t be the ostrich.

3. Use the freebie three part cards! Need some ideas on how to use 3 part cards? Check out this post https://thesilvanreverie.wordpress.com/2017/11/13/how-we-use-3-part-cards/

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