March 10, 2015

Kids Like the Darndest Things

Did you know that kids will play with anything? Okay, you probably already knew that. My preschoolers were feeling a little... um... unmotivated the other day. They thought maybe their speech time would be a good opportunity for a little wander around the room, touching things they knew they shouldn't be touching. Kids have those days. They're bored. They're restless. They're tired of the same ol', same ol'. That day, rather than spending my time chasing around 3 adorable preschool children, I decided to take matters into my own hands and get a little creative. I decided to use a fun, attention grabbing trick that I learned while working at daycare in order to motivate my students.


When I was a teacher in the 2-year-old room at a local daycare, I often wanted to pull my hair out. I was the sole adult in a room of 10 children between the ages of 24 and 36 months. It was insane. Insane is actually an understatement. There were days when the kids would LITERALLY run in circles for an hour at a time, if you'd let them. They liked to yell, hurt each other, and cry. At times this fun trick was the only way to keep them from doing all three of those things. It was called....





GIVE-THOSE-KIDS-BABY-WIPES-AND-LET-THEM-GO-TO-TOWN.


I kid you not. Baby wipes. God's gift to daycare service providers nationwide. All it took was a damp wipey in their hands and they were thrilled. Behaved. Attentive. QUIET.


I don't know if it has something to do with the fact that they were being allowed to hold something a bit different from the norm (damp, scented, cold) or the fact that they knew they were about to be able to use it for a greater good, but baby wipes made them happier than a witch in a broom factory (you see what I did there?).

I'd let them go around the room and "clean" everything. They'd clean toys, shelves, cabinet doors, chairs, tables and walls. When one ran dry, I'd give them another. Baby wipes were toxic-free miracle workers.

Spur of the moment, as therapy sometimes has to be, I decided I could use this same concept with my curious little darlings. Why not bring out the big bucket of play food and let them "clean" off the items? Heaven knows I have enough wipeys in my room to keep them all appeased. 


"BUT KAYLA!", one might ask. "HOW DOES THIS TARGET ANY GOALS?"


A bucket of food is great to target language goals, as all of you already know. Adding in baby wipes to the mix gave me 3 TIMES the normal utterances I hear from these kiddos. I have one child who never initiates and rarely responds and he was NAMING off the foods as he cleaned them. WHERE HAS THIS LANGUAGE BEEN MY WHOLE LIFE???

Obviously, that strawberry needed a good washing.

We can't let the brownie stay dirty! Wash it!

An egg? Do you know where that came from? Wash it!
 The smiles on their faces, the goals I was able to target (following directions, categorization, attributes of objects, even speech goals) and the fun we ALL had made this activity all the better.

And the fact that my play food looks shiny and new is a tiny little perk of this activity :)


Have you ever tried anything spur of the moment that completely blew your mind with how well it worked? Tell me in the comments!




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