Top Tips for Teaching Concepts: The Park
Do you want to know a secret for helping your child excel when participating in the classroom? One trick is to ensure your child understands “concepts”.
Concepts are words that provide key information that assist your child with differentiating between choices and clarifying the main point. If you understand concepts, you will likely feel more successful with following instructions, learning from information, enjoying stories, and enriching your own spoken and written communication. Below are examples of concepts that children learn as they grow and experience new things:
COLORS such as blue, green, yellow, red, and orange
SIZES such as small, bigger, biggest, long, short
TEXTURE/TOUCH such as bumpy, rough, smooth, soft, fluffy, hot/cold, flat
FEELINGS such as happy/sad, scared, excited, mad, surprised
DIRECTION such as towards, around, straight, curvy, away from
MOVEMENT such as quickly, fast, slowly
AMOUNT such as 1-2-3, most, all, none, some, both, just one, lots
LOCATION such as up/down, in/out, over/under, top/bottom, front/back beside, around, between
ORDER such as first/second/third, before/after, first/then/last
CONDITIONAL such as “Don’t unless…” , “Only if…”, and “All except…”
You can reinforce concepts with your child during everyday routines. Simply say it out loud. Say what you see, how it feels, where it is, or what you are doing and how you are doing it! Below are some ideas for teaching and practicing concepts while having fun at the park.
1. DOING: Children often learn best through “doing”, such as through going through the motions and experiencing the concept with their own bodies and senses.
2. REPETITION: Repetition is helpful for remembering new knowledge. Let your child hear your target word more than once and on multiple occasions.
3. OPPOSITES: Opposites are a fun, effective approach to teaching concepts. For instance, help your child physically experience words such as ON/OFF, IN/OUT, TOP/BOTTOM, OVER/UNDER, and FRONT/BACK. You might even pick one opposite pair each time you go to the park. For starters, have a lot of fun climbing ON and jumping OFF of the rocks!
4. NAME IT WHILE THEY PLAY IT: While your kids are jumping, thumping, sliding, and climbing around the park, think of some of the key words that apply to WHERE they are (up, down, high, low), WHAT they may be feeling (bumpy, warm), or HOW they may be moving (fast!). Comment to them using your words, as in “Wow! You are upside down!” Tell them they are going higher and higher on the swing…count how many pushes you give….1, 2, 3!
5. OBSTACLE COURSE: Engage your kids in a fun course throughout the park. You will shout out commands and they will move their way through, over, under, around, and across the park. Your enthusiasm and celebration will definitely reinforce their participation and sense of accomplishment.
6. PRETEND PLAY: Wouldn’t it be fun to play on a big “pirate ship” or at a special “fairy lagoon”? Consider engaging your child in an adventure, while you include some of your target words. Maybe the treasure is at the BACK of the boat, while the snake pit is hidden at the FRONT. Your child will know.
Below are some pictures of my son learning his concepts during our “together time” at the park.
For more direct practice with concepts, contact TinyEYE for support. Our interactive activities accelerate success!
Marnee Brick, MSc
Speech-Language Pathologist and Director of Speech Therapy
TinyEYE Therapy Services (Speech Therapy Telepractice)
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