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Toy of the Month: Jumping Jack

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The Toy of the Month, Jumping Jack, is really a game. Kids take turns pulling out carrots from Jack’s bunny hill.  One of the carrots will make Jack (the bunny) jump in the air.  I love using a variety of games to target many different speech and language skills. Just like toys, games allow children to learn their speech and language skills in a meaningful and natural way.  Let’s talk about ways to support your child’s communication skills while playing with the Toy of the Month, Jumping Jack.

  • Vocabulary:  Vocabulary development is crucial in order to support a child’s development of understanding and use of language. Let’s look at vocabulary to focus on while playing the Jumping Jack game.

    • Colors:  Each bucket has a different color.  Label the colors as your child puts carrots in each of the buckets.

    • Numbers:  If using the spinner during the game, your child can tell how many carrots they get to pull according to where the spinner lands.  When the game ends, you can count how many carrots each person has.  

    • Spatial Concepts:  While setting up the game and while putting carrots in the buckets, you can use the spatial concept “in”.  While pulling the carrots from the bunny hill, you can use the concept “out”.  I also like to use these concepts while cleaning up the game by putting all the parts back “in” the box or container.  

    • Action Words:  There are a variety of action words you can use while playing with this game including:  “pull” (pulling the carrots out), “put” (putting carrots in the bunny hill or in the buckets), “spin” (spinner), and “jump/hop”.  For some added fun, I like to have Jack (the rabbit) “eat” the carrots at the end of the game.

  • Sound Production:  Children learn how to produce different sounds and sound combinations in order to express themselves more clearly and to be understood by others.  Let’s look at some sounds and sound combinations we can target throughout this game.

    • Vowel-Consonant Words:  Children with difficulty coordinating different speech motor movements benefit from practicing in simple syllable structures such as Vowel-Consonant (VC) words.  VC Words to focus on in this game include:  “in”, “out”, “eat”, and “up”.  

    • 2-Syllable Words:  Many children omit middle consonant sounds or even parts of the word reducing a 2-syllable word down to 1-syllable.  2-Syllable words to focus on during this game include:  “bunny”, “bucket”, “carrot”, “rabbit”, “dirty”, “eating”, “jumping”, and “hopping”.

    • Any sound target:  You can also use this game for any sound.  All you need is either an app with the targeted sound, pictures with the targeted sound, or even objects with the targeted sound.  For each turn, your child can practice saying one of the presented words on the app, picture, or object before pulling a carrot out of the bunny hill. 

  • Social Communication:  Social communication allows us to interact with others in a variety of social contexts.  It includes back and forth verbal communication, tone of voice, gestures, body language, facial expressions, social rules, and so much more.  Let’s look at ways to help support the growth and development of social communication while playing games such as Jumping Jack.

    • Turn-Taking:  Take turns with your child spinning the spinner and pulling the carrots out.  Model words using verbal communication, sign language, gestures, or a Speech Generating Device for “my turn”, “your turn”, “I go”, “you go”, etc.  

    • Commenting:  Commenting is important to help keep an interaction or conversation going and to participate socially with others.  Examples include:  “I see” statements or more descriptive commenting statements such as “That is funny”.  Examples of comments you can practice while playing Jumping Jack include:  “I have 2 carrots”, “Jump high”, “Muddy hill”, “I see Jack”, “I like it”, “Yummy carrots”, and “Fun game”. 

    • Exclaiming:  Exclaiming is important in showing emotion and excitement during communication interactions.  Be sure to over exaggerate your facial expressions, actions, and tone of voice while modeling this purpose of communication.  Exclamations you can model for your child while playing Jumping Jack include:  “Be careful!”, “Oh-no!”, “Don’t jump!”, “Wow, you have 2 carrots!”, and  “Ouch!  Jack fell down!”.

I hope you enjoy playing games this week with your child whether it’s with Jumping Jack or a favorite game you may have at your house!  My wish is that these ideas will help support you and your child in their speech and language development while having fun together!  Happy Spring!


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