I recently saw a colleague using the functional life skills adapted book series in her classroom with older students and I just fell in love! I knew I had to find functional and engaging ways to use these with my young learners. Check out how I modified and extended the book to include different levels of activities!
Make it errorless!
Sometimes when I first begin a new activity with my kiddos, depending on the skill set level, I will use errorless, especially to help build behavior momentum. The original book has students count out a selected quantity of items and placing them in the fridge. For my teeny tiny kiddos, I simply put the correct matching item as the only choice in the blank square. You can cover up the number if you want, however I simple read, “What’s in the fridge?” and then say, “Look! orange juice! Put it IN”. We continue going through the entire book in this manner and towards the end, if I know the child knows the item label, I will pause while pointing to the picture to see if they will expressively identify it. You could also put the exact number of items needed in the blank space below however with my smallest learners (ie: 24-36 months old), one item is plenty!
Add a fun motor component!
I love these two activities. In the first picture, I cut the bottom off the book page and put the small food pieces into clear plastic eggs. I then will either hand my student one egg at a time, they can pull them out of a bag or if you have a busy friend, they could run to one end of the room, pick up an egg and bring it back! Putting the food pictures in the plastic egg adds in extra engagement (kids love opening things) and language opportunities. You can work on core language words such as open and help when popping open the egg. Be sure to keep control of the materials so that you can ensure as many language opportunities as possible! For the next activity, I cut out another page of the book and taped it to a box with a slit in the lid. You can use anything to put in the box that is food related! For example, you can use picture vocabulary cards like the ones shown above, the smaller pictures from the actual adapted book or even plastic food objects (just make sure to cut the slit big enough). I like to read the title on the picture and then hold one picture up at a time next to my face and clearly label it three times as I move it towards the child. The child may automatically label the picture upon the teacher holding it up which is great! If not, that’s ok too! When you first do this activity, your student may not tolerate you labeling it three times and you may have to label it once and then hand it to the child to put into the box. As the child learns the activity, you can increase the number back to three labels. By bringing the picture up to your face you’re capturing the child’s attention, you’re clearly labeling it and as the child reaches for it, this counts as a request. The action of putting the picture into the box is the reinforcing part! As you play this activity with your student, I encourage you to hold back from labeling it right away to see if your student will start sound or word approximating! I first learned this type of activity from Dr. Mary Barbera and you can use it with objects, preferred pictures, or anything themed! See these activities in action below and find them here! Happy Learning!