Learning Through Play
It is no secret that children learn best through play and my favorite form of treatment within the field of Applied Behavior Analysis is using Natural Environment Teaching (NET). NET focuses on the existing natural environment and events to incorporate learning opportunities and skill development. Teaching socially significant behaviors can be done in a variety of ways, but the most reinforcing and engaging is often through play.
There are so many great games to play with younger children, but I wanted to share some of my favorite games and some skills that can be incorporated within them.
1. Spot It
Spot It is a great way to assess and practice Visual Perception and Matching to Sample Skills, as the child scans the cards to find the match as quickly as they can. It can also help with discriminating between minor differences in the pictures as they determine which pictures match or don’t match (Think Stimulus Discrimination).
2. Yeti on My Spaghetti
This game is perfect for cause and effect (behaviors have consequences, anyone?) . This also allows the learner to practice turn taking, manding for a turn, and good sportsmanship as there is a clear winner or loser. I’ve used this game with kids of different ages, and it’s always a fun experience!
3. The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel
This game is a fun and exciting game where learners can practice color recognition, manding for their turn or acorns of different colors, waiting for a turn, fine motor skills with pinching the squirrel hands and spinning the wheel.
4. Count Your Chickens
Count Your Chickens is a great cooperative game for younger children to practice counting, fine motor skills, turn taking, manding for turns, and discriminating different animals from their pictures on the board.