This post turned out to be an unplanned part 2 of my blog How To Set Up Structured Play Boxes! After pulling some toys and getting the boxes we wanted together, we had to create ways in which the team would use them. How would these boxes benefit our learners the most? Making them grab and go type resources was top priority. Just like The Autism Helper team always says, if it’s too hard, we won’t use it! Within the structured play boxes, I have added data sheets, play targets and language targets cheat sheets, core boards, and fringe vocabulary. Training our staff and remembering that we are a collaborative team is important in making sure that all team members are implementing activities and taking data the same way. Having these created materials in the boxes helps guarantee that this happens.
Language Targets and Play Targets
I was able to sit down with my occupational therapist, speech/language pathologist, and my social worker to create the targets for these toys. When we created the materials for each box, we wanted to be sure that we were including information from our alternate curriculum (STAR). If my team and I are using the boxes, toys, and materials, they need to have a purpose. We wanted to be sure that these play boxes were not only useful for teaching our learners, but also for progress monitoring and maintenance.
Under language targets, we included ideas for the following skills:
- Babbling and Sound Pairing
- Comprehension and Receptive Language
- Expanding Phrases and Expressive Language
Under play targets, we included ideas for the following skills:
- Readiness for play
- Beginning play skills
- Play directions
- Functional play and beginning pretend play
- Expand on play
Once we had our cheat sheets created and were happy with the skills we included, we worked on the fringe vocabulary for each toy. Fringe vocabulary is a set of words that teachers and learners will use specific to the toys or items. These are words to be used with the core boards or any mode of communication to enhance the language learning. These can be added to communication devices, communication books, or core board sheets using binder ring, binder clips, or binder coils. When creating the fringe vocabulary documents, we included words from both language targets and play targets. Find the fringe vocabulary download for the farm and dollhouse here.
Below there are two videos showing the use of the core boards and fringe vocabulary. One models using The Autism Helper’s 5×5 core board with fringe vocabulary for the blocks that we are using. The other is an example of using The Autism Helper’s 3×4 core board with fringe vocabulary for the dollhouse. Enjoy bringing play into all areas of the classroom!