All last week, my kids were enchanted to find evidence of the gnomes settling into their new home. They found a ladder perched up against the tree, a wagon next to the path, a rake made of twigs near the wagon, and a twiggy broom leaning up against the door. There was even a tiny basket with a pumpkin sitting on the table. As they came into the room, we talked about the objects they found.
I took pictures of each of the new items and had them ready to show the kids. This gave us opportunity to practice vocabulary words as some of the objects were unfamiliar to some of the children. I also asked them what they thought how the gnomes might use the objects. This led into a very fun object function game where we pretended to be gnomes.
I made two versions of this game. In this first version, we pretended to be gnomes for the entire game. We turned over a card, named the item, and then talked about what we would do with that object. Then we pretended to use the item, such as pushing our imaginary wheelbarrows around the room, and sweeping with imaginary brooms. This was such a great way to increase our verb vocabulary and practice stating object functions!
The second version of the game is a board game, where the child spins the spinner to determine the number of spaces to move. If the child lands on a circle, he or she draws a card, names the item on the card and states its function. If he or she lands on a flower, the child must also pretend to use the object. This worked so well to work on pronouns and auxiliary verbs in addition to the vocabulary/object function goals. If you like these games and would like to try them for yourself, be sure to look for them in my TpT store in a week or two. They haven't been added yet, but some day, they'll magically be ready. Just leave a comment for me to let me know you're interested.
This week, the gnomes are starting to leave signs of mischief around my room.
I left their wagon with some acorns in it on the sidewalk leading up to my door so my little friends would be sure to see it. Each child has arrived at my door, excited to show and tell me what they saw. We start language treatment the INSTANT we say hello. They tell me where they found it, what was in it, and how they think it got there. I tell them that the gnomes have been very busy and very forgetful, leaving all their tools inside my room. When we get to the table, I show them the cards with the pictures of the tools from last week and explain that the gnomes forgot their things in my room, and we need to help them by finding the objects and returning them to the gnomes.
We put the wagon in the basket that the gnomes left behind (along with a pile of acorns) and started to look for the other items.
We found their broom in the sticker box...
...the ladder on top of the clock, and the basket and rake in other easy to find locations. This was a great way to practice prepositions as well as laugh about what those silly gnomes did! We talked about how we thought the gnomes got into my room, and how each thing ended up where it did. Pure imagination! We reviewed how the gnomes might use each object, practicing the skills we learned last week. And then we collected the objects in the green basket to return to the gnome's yard.
Since prepositions were such a natural target, we played a little preposition game using the acorns from the wagon. We used a gnome-sized trash can and some picture games to practice putting the acorns in, on, next to and under the trash can. We talked about acorns, a new word to many, and very fun to play with.
At the end of each session, we reviewed the picture cards once again.
We talked about where those silly gnomes left each of the object and, if the parent wasn't present, we used the cards to help tell the story of where each item was found.
The kids are LOVING these silly gnome activities! I wish you could see them stopping to look at their house and yard each time they pass. I wish you could see how much they talk to their parents and grandparents about the gnomes and what they see. I wish you could see the magic in their eyes and excitement on their faces when they spy evidence of gnome activity. I am having so much fun, too, and am amazed at the scope of speech and language learning opportunities that are directly tied to my sweet little gnomes. It's beyond my wildest imagination!