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Sunday, August 14, 2022

3 Ways to Target Core Vocabulary with Dino Fine Motor Toy

Preschoolers love dinosaurs! Whether it's a dinosaur book, game, movie, or plastic egg with a toy dinosaur inside, preschoolers love learning about and playing with dinosaurs. They are fascinating, fun, and can be played with year-round. I found this Dino Fine Motor Toy  on Amazon, and immediately thought this would be a fun toy to target Core Vocabulary throughout the year with my preschool students in speech therapy.  This toy helps preschoolers develop fine motor skills by grasping the small spikes and placing in the dinosaur. They  also learn colors, quantity concepts, and problem-solving skills through play. In this post, I want to share with you 3 ways you can target core vocabulary using the Dino Fine Motor Toy

What is Core Vocabulary?
Core vocabulary words are a set of words that are most frequently used in communication. They include social words, such as: "Hi, bye, yes," and "no." They also include: verbs, prepositions, negatives, question words, pronouns, helping verbs, adverbs, and conjunctions. Specific nouns are considered fringe words (ex: mom, ball, cup, backpack, car, etc.) and are paired with core vocabulary to expand utterances. 

How can I support language development?
As speech-language pathologists, it is our responsibility to provide explicit language instruction, frequent opportunities to use new language skills, and appropriate modeling within the context of meaningful play and interaction. Core vocabulary instruction is an approach to building functional communication for minimally verbal children and often includes visual supports and AAC. 

First, I am always looking for a fun book to pair with a toy. This book "Peek-a-boo, Dinosaur" is a delightful book with repetitive text and core vocabulary on almost every page. Text such as "I see you..." and prepositions, "in" and "on" allow for natural occurring use of core vocabulary. By pairing the toy and the book, speech pathologists can incorporate a game of  "Peek-boo" using both the toy and the book into their sessions.


Second, the dinosaur spikes allow for multiple opportunities to target words such as, "go, do, help, want, more, again, in, out" and "it." Single words or phrases can be targeted based on student's needs. Target phrases may include: "do again," "want more," "it in," "in again," and "go out."

Finally, in addition to the dinosaur's spikes, its body opens up for storage of the spikes.  It's mouth is also moveable, and can open and close. Set up and clean up time is a great time to target words, phrases, and simple sentences using core vocabulary such as, "help, see, more, put, in, open, get, not, go, out," and "all done."

Play-based therapy looks easy sometimes, but it does require a little bit of planning ahead. I recommend choosing only 3-5 target words per session.  Be intentional in your sessions while still following the child's lead. A little bit of planning, consistent language models, and lots of practice will pay off. 

If you have a favorite toy to target core vocabulary, let me know if the comments below.

You may also enjoy these related products and  blog posts:

* This post includes Amazon Affiliate Links. 

Lisa, SLP

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