Yesterday was a very busy day for me!  My husband's unit is currently "out in the field" training.  They had a "spouse's day" so we could go out with them and observe their training.  It was very neat to see them "in their glory."  However, it was also a wake-up call that our 3rd deployment is coming up in less than a year!!  (I'm an Army wife)  Anyway, all that to say, I didn't get to blog yesterday.  Therefore, you get TWO activities in ONE blog today (kill two birds with one stone - another idiom that kids don't always understand.  See my blog post about Idiom of the Week from September 20).

This week, I'm highlighting what you could do with BLOCKS!  Most people have some blocks laying around their house.  We have several kinds... traditional wooden blocks with letters on them, foam blocks of varying shapes/sizes, Duplo blocks, MegaBlocks, and blocks of varying shapes that you sort in the sorting toy.  Any blocks will work with these activities.

Activity 1:  Teaching Prepositions
Prepositions give a lot of information about where any object is.  Teaching your child this information will help when you are giving him/her instructions to go get his shoes that are IN his closet ON the shoe rack.  Maybe little Sammy is looking for his blanket and you tell him to look UNDER his bed or AROUND the laundry basket.

Getting started:  With little children, I start off with two prepositions that are opposites (in and out).  I will use a bucket or a bowl or container of some kind and the blocks.  I ask the child.  "Can you put the block IN the bucket?"  (using Auditory Highlighting for the word IN)  Then I'll say, "Let's put it IN.  Great job!  You put it IN."  I repeat this and may try to get the child to also say "in" until all the blocks are in the container.  Then we work on OUT.  At this point, I'm not testing the child - I'm giving the child the language and showing him/her what IN and OUT actually mean.  

If your child is a bit older, then you can take a block and put it somewhere.  Then tell your child where it is.  The block is ON the table.  The block is UNDER the chair.  The block is BEHIND the couch.  When your child knows most prepositions, then you can make it a game.  Put a block somewhere and ask him/her where the block is located!!!

Activity 2:  Find the block (a listening comprehension game)
Listening comprehension can be challenging for many children.  The practice, the better!!!  Place a block somewhere  while the child is closing his/her eyes (no peeking!).  Then, tell the child, "find the block.  It's on the table."  The child has to listen to the message and then retrieve the item.  If he/she goes directly to the block, then you know that your child not only knows the word table, but understands it when it is heard.  This is a great activity for deaf children who are learning to listen because they really only need to be listening for a few words - the location of the block - but are hearing two sentences.  It will help them filter out the important information.

These activities can be used with anything - stuffed animals, snacks, balls, crayons, etc.  I'm simply highlighting a few activities using blocks this week... but you are definitely NOT limited to only using blocks if you don't have blocks in your home.

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