One of my goals for the month is to work with Jake to master the names of as many animals as we can. He is not a big talker but can say many, many words. When you ask what animal is in a picture Jake usually says the sound of the animal rather than the name. When I say, "Yes, that is a cow she says mooo, can you say cow?" He will say it but he does not say it unless I ask him to repeat the name. I want to work to change this and one way I thought I could work on this is with these picture cards I found over at Counting Coconuts.
I printed the cards and laminated them using clear contact paper. I then put them in a wooden box on the shelf. I started the activity by introducing the cards to Jake. I pulled out three sets of baby and adult animals. We looked at each pair one at a time and talked about similarities and differences. I also told him the baby animal's name.
Next, I mixed up the cards and asked him to match the animals. I kept it small scale with just doing three pairs at a time. He was able to successfully match the cards.
I put the cards away and starting reading the book. As we came across an animal I pulled out the cards. Jake took the initiative to go over to the farm toys set up for this month and grabbed the appropriate animal. We then had the pictures from the book, the cards and an animal toy. I think this was a great way to make connections! As I have stated before, he is not the type of child to sit on my lap and listen to a story. He walks around the room, gets into things and just acts silly but this proves that he is still listening! Not all learners sit to listen and learn but that does not mean they are not learning. It is important to keep this in mind and meet them in the middle. Hopefully the teachers he has throughout elementary school will be understanding of this fact!
At the end of the story there is a picture of all the baby animals. I asked Jake to look through the cards and pull out all the baby animals. He did a few but this is where I lost him. He had had enough at this point. He wanted to just play so I stopped and let him head over to the animals and play for a while.
Remember the important part of Structured Play is the PLAY! He is still learning and growing while he is playing. I do not want this time to be boring or frustrating so I let his interest level dictate our schedule.