Most of these are core words, they are the starting blocks of developing 2 word phrases and eventually longer sentences. Core words are frequently used words that can be stated in multiple situations (i.e. more, go, stop, in, out, etc.). This is compared to words like “milk” or “book” which are what we call “fringe words”. These words reference 1 item and do not change across different situations. Milk is always milk! But “more” can be used when a child wants “more” milk, or if they want “more” games or possibly when they want to hear “more” of the book.
What we recommend
Core words can be used in today’s toy, a crawl-through tunnel. A simple tunnel goes for as little as $12 on Amazon. Here is a reasonable one you can find on Amazon. If you aren’t sure what a tunnel is, it is a long tube that children can crawl through. To store it, it can be pushed down to look like a circle and then held down by velcro, think like a giant sized spring. Fancier models can include a door and a playhouse, but when working with core words, all you need is a tunnel that has an entrance and an exit.
We love using tunnels in children’s speech and language therapy sessions. These are also a great way to engage children with autism in speech therapy because you can target language while still moving. Tunnels can be used to teach “stop” and “go”. Before the kids enter, they have to “stop” and they cannot go in until you say “go”. Next time your child comes around, you can ask them “more” or prompt them with their new word “go”? This tunnel is a simple item that young children never seem to get enough of.
But just in case they get tired of going through the tunnel the same way, you can turn it into a game that teaches basic concepts like “in” and “out”. If you lay the tunnel flat on the ground and velcro it flat, it looks like a giant circle. You can teach your kids where is “in” (they can step inside the circle) and where is “out” (they can step out). You can make it a game and see what you can put “in” the circle, maybe the dinosaur wants to “go in” or you can ask, “does dolly want to go in or out?”
This toy provides a natural environment to reinforce your child’s understanding of core words. It uses play and provides multiple opportunities for your child to use their words. Beyond Speech Specialists and our team of support staff use play and a natural learning environment to help your child learn words like this and more (imagine using this tunnel to teach “up”, “down”, “shake”)! They work with core words and emphasize language building all while your child is having fun running through a tunnel. If you would like to know more about Beyond Speech and where to find the best pediatric therapy near you, please check out this link!